Foundation not connected to Association

Published 11:16 am Friday, February 7, 2014

CARROLLTON—The Education Foundation for Isle of Wight Public Schools wants the distinction to be clear – it has nothing to do with the Isle of Wight Education Association.

“We just want to clear up any confusion there might be,” said Randi Kayes, this year’s president of the foundation.

She spoke Thursday in reaction to the news that Stephanie Bailey, a former leader of the Isle of Wight Education Association, had been arrested earlier this week. Bailey was charged with embezzling more than $40,000 in the chapter’s account. She allegedly gave money to the homeless and students, but there’s no evidence yet found to back that claim.

“I had never heard of that organization, and was quite surprised,” Kayes said. She added that her own children are in pre-school, and not yet in public schools. Therefore, Kayes was not yet familiar with the association.

The VEA, which is a state chapter of the National Education Association, is dedicated to teachers by advocating for them through continued education, sharing resources, salaries or working conditions.

While the foundation also seeks to support teachers, it does so in ways intended to have a more immediate impact on students.

“We fund projects that the county does not have money to fund,” said Kayes. “We raise money through the annual Students First Auction and Dinner. We solicit local businesses for silent and live auction items in October. That’s where the majority of our money comes from.”

Grant applications are available on the website,, and every teacher in the county’s school system is welcome to offer one for something they need for their classroom.

“Not field trips,” Kayes said quickly, “but anything that will enhance learning in the classrooms. We have funded science and lab equipment. Last year we did an erosion project. Built a garden, and all of that.”

She also listed playground equipment, a rock wall for physical education at Carrollton Elementary, books to help with Standard of Learning testing, a butterfly garden and even sound systems.

Teachers have to create a photo board that can be displayed at the auction.

“That way everyone can see how funding is impacting our schools,” said Kayes.

The money given to teachers has to be used within the school year, and every penny must be accounted.

“They have to list how much something costs and prove it,” she added. “We keep very thorough records. There’s an annual audit in January, and everything matched up.”