March 25, 2002 11:00 pm

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE The Enterprise Education Foundation is making progress toward restoring art, music, home-ec, agriculture and sports programs recently cut from the Enterprise School District budget.

The plan is to get 1,000 friends of the school to pledge at least 82 cents per day for five years. Thats a $300 tax-deductible donation per year, said foundation president Mike Wiedeman.

In its first week of fund-raising, the not-for-profit corporation has received some $55,000 in pledges from 100 people, Wiedeman said.

Nearly 600 people packed Quinn Court gymnasium Wednesday for a public forum, he said. Pledge cards were taken home by about 400 people. So, he expects to see hundreds of more pledges rolling in.

Also, next week, a mailing will go out to about 1,000 Enterprise school alumni, he said.

Five alumni addressed the crowd last week about the importance the doomed programs played in their lives.

Even during the Great Depression, the community chose to have good schools, Wiedeman said. Old yearbooks reveal an amazing array of things for the kids to do then, such as clubs and activities. Its all about community involvement. If they could do it then, we can do it now.

The foundation, a 501c.3 corporation, plans to fund non-required and extra-curricular programs, because donated money used to fund required curriculum is subtracted from state-supported levels.

Like other schools throughout Oregon, Enterprise has found it difficult to survive on state funding. Enterprises 1998 cash carryover of $800,000 was eaten up by 2000. The foundations five-year time frame was selected to give Oregon voters an opportunity to come up with a better way to fund schools than by a state income tax that can be impacted by a recession.

Oregons students are paying the price for Measures 5/47/50 approved by voters in the 1990s, school officials say. The measures limited property taxes and shifted control of school budgets to the state, which mandates programs and reimburses districts on a per-student basis.

Rural timber-dependent communities such as Enterprise have experienced failing economies and a lack of jobs. That has resulted in an outward migration of young families. Enterprise has lost 150 students over the past five years.

Donations to the foundation project can be made at Pioneer Bank, where an account has been established. A receipt will be issued and all donors will be kept apprised of account status.

Donors of more than $50 per year become foundation voting members and are eligible for board positions.

The Enterprise Education Foundations address is 201 S.E. Fourth St., Enterprise 97828. It can be reached at 541-426-3193, or by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it