History and Purpose of the Fund:
In the early 1990s, the effects of the previous decade’s Proposition 2 1/2 law combined with severe budget cuts that shrank or eliminated library and classroom budgets. In response, two groups of Northampton citizens began to organize. SOS, which stood for Save Our Schools and later Support Our Schools, focused exclusively on raising money for books, hosting their first plant sale in 1997 to take place the day before Mother’s Day.
In the spring of 2005, NEF assumed responsibility for the operations formerly run by SOS, with the goal of having a single comprehensive organization to support public education in Northampton. Under the merger, NEF has established the “Book Fund,” which is designated for classroom texts, library texts, instructional materials, and their digital equivalents.
The principal sources of the fund are an annual appeal to Northampton residents and an annual Plant and Garden Market, held in May. Funds are distributed annually on a per-capita basis per school, after each school has submitted spending plans and the NEF Board has approved them.
Guidelines for Applicants:
The 2021-2022 book fund application is available now. http://northamptoneducation.org/nef-book-fund-request-form/ Please read the following directions before submitting it.
1. Please try to apply for all the Book Fund dollars apportioned to your school at one time. If multiple educators from a single school wish to apply for funds, they should coordinate together and with their principal when they will submit applications. (It may be helpful to appoint a point person to keep track of multiple requests and submit one single application for all requests.) NEF must review each application before submitting it to the appropriate School Department for processing. You can apply at any time. Although mid-June is the cut-off for this year’s submission of orders, I recommend you submit your school’s request by May if you need the texts by September in order to avoid any delays caused by supply chain problems over the summer.
2. To prepare for the application, educators should do the following:
- Be sure you have approval from your principal to apply.
- Please make every attempt to order locally. Broadside Bookshop, High Five Books, and Pioneer Valley Books can accommodate many of our requests, and other independent bookshops may be able to as well. Even the Hadley Barnes & Noble employs locals.
- After deciding on specific books to purchase, please ask each company or bookstore for a formal written quote listing the books, their prices, and any shipping costs if necessary. Please note that a formal quote is not the same as a link to a shopping cart. You may need to reach out to a company or bookstore by phone or email to ask for the quote. When doing so, please ask if the quote can be valid for 60-90 days. Also, make sure you identify the purchaser as Northampton Public Schools or Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, therefore tax exempt and entitled to any educator discounts. (For NPS shipped orders, provide the purchaser name and address as Northampton Public Schools 212 Main St, 2nd Floor, Northampton, MA 01060 and the shipping address as Northampton Public Schools, Attn: your name, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA 01060.)
- Please complete a Purchase Requisition form, available in school main offices or at http://www.northamptonschools.org. (Click the “Staff Resources and Forms” button at the very top of the page.) For a Smith Vocational PO form, click on this page: https://www.smithtec.org/links-and-forms-1
- Note that you will be uploading both the purchase requisition forms and the quotes, so you may need to prepare them as image files. (If you don’t know how to do this, your main office probably has a scanner.)
3. On the application, provide information on why the order is important to the student’s learning experience. This explanation does not have to be long, but it does need to tell NEF some relevant details. If the application contains multiple orders, help us understand the overall goals of each order (not each text). Please make sure your principal approves your justification for the books before submitting your application.
4. June 15 will be the cut-off date for requests, with the last purchase order issued by Aug. 1. If an allocation is not used by that time, that money will combine with new fundraising to be reapportioned in the fall according to the per pupil formula NEF uses to distribute funds.
5. The minimum order is $300.
For more information about the Book Fund, please contact Amy Levine of the NEF Board.