Man donates $50,000 to Chester, IL high school

Man donates to former high school
Updated: Jul. 26, 2017 at 5:30 PM CDT
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CHESTER, IL (KFVS) - Governor Bruce Rauner called for a special session on Wednesday and school leaders across the Heartland hoped for the best outcome.

Chester Unit School District in Illinois has a brand new Superintendent, Brian Pasero, who is already rolling up his sleeves to get to work in his new role.

He has been on his the job for less than a week.

"I'm excited to be here and it's a good opportunity to be here…and lead a district," he said. "The big plan is to kind of see where we are at and find out what our needs are and our priorities are."

Governor Bruce Rauner called lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session to settle the school funding debate to fix those "needs and priorities."

"I think it does certainly put a stress on school district in a community when you have so much on the line with what's happening at Springfield. And I think we are like a lot of districts in southern Illinois where there is a great deal on the line here," Pasero said.

However, the schools in Chester CUSD may be better off than many other thanks to a big gift: a $50,000 donation to the school.

Pasero was undoubtedly happy for the donation.

"When you get a donation like that certainly is a big plus," he said. "That's a positive we can look at when generally worried about what's going on."

Superintendent Pasero said this donation couldn't have come at a better time.

The man behind the donation is Professor James Franklin Sharp and he had one major thing he wanted to stress.

"I emphasize the importance in education and Chester high school played a fundamental role in my education," he said.

Sharp has been donating to Chester schools since 1999. He has three scholarships named after family members: Jake Sharp Scholarship for children of Menard's Correctional Facility employees, Edna Sharp Scholarship for rising teachers and even Rosanna Sharp Myers Scholarship for cheerleaders. Chester CUSD has a bench in recognition of Sharp, class of 1954.

While Sharp stressed what can be achieved with the proper education, he also shared some wisdom.

"You can't take it with you, so it's nice to give to places that appreciate the gift. And Chester high school, because the budget situation, appreciates the gift almost more than anybody else," he said.

Pasero explains, "Anytime that you have somebody that donates to our school district it's a win for us. Every little bit helps and we certainly couldn't appreciate more what Mr Sharp has done for us."

Chester schools have not decided where the money will go just yet.

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