Highland Park Education Foundation
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Mad for Plaid Check Presentation L to R: Scott Trulock, Bill Ogle, Doug Woodward, Alan Rose, Jae Ellis, Michael Denton, Blythe Koch, Cindy Kerr, Ellen Lee, Lauren Holloway, Pete Flowers, Claire Baker, Bryce Benson, Maryjane Bonfield, Brooke Messer, Whitney Zapffe, Dr. Mike Rockwood, Laura McCallan, Nick Peters.

Highland Park Education Foundation gifts historic $1.7 million to HPISD for teacher and staff salaries thanks to generosity of Park Cities community

Foundation partnership with HPISD is making teacher salaries top priority

DALLAS – The Highland Park Education Foundation (HPEF) presented a check for $1.7 million at the HPISD school board meeting on Tuesday evening this week. This grant marks the largest amount that HPEF has ever gifted to HPISD solely for districtwide teacher and staff salaries. Last summer, HPEF committed these funds that would comprise 1% of a total 5% increase to district teachers and staff during the 2022-23 school year. It’s the community of HP alumni, parents, grandparents, and community members who made that funding possible.

More than 2,400 donors contributed to HPEF’s annual Mad for Plaid fundraising campaign, which exists to address the district’s most immediate, critical needs each school year. For the past three years, that need has been identified by the HPISD Board of Trustees and Superintendent as raising the bar for teacher pay.

“Three years ago, we were gifting $1.2 million, then $1.5, and now to have the community support us in this increasingly significant way is truly remarkable,” says Michael Denton, HPEF board president. “We are truly moving the needle to achieve competitive teacher pay, and our donors need to know that their gifts are making that happen.”

Teacher and staff salaries continue to rise at public schools in the DFW area, and it is critical that HPISD remain competitive with surrounding districts with respect to teacher compensation. With the passage of the Golden Penny Election in November 2021, as well as continued support from HPEF and the campus PTA/PTOs, the district has been able to achieve a cumulative 13% increase in just three years for all staff districtwide.

During its June 20 meeting, the HPISD Board of Trustees approved a new compensation package for district staff that will increase salaries by another 5% for the 2023-2024 school year.

“These gifted funds are a critical part of our budget and represent the single largest gift received by the district,” said Bryce Benson, HPISD Trustee and liaison to the HPEF board. “The funding from HPEF, in particular, goes to our greatest need, which impacts every student, every teacher, and every school.”

The Foundation’s 2023-2024 gift for teacher and staff salaries will be another $1.7 million next June, with the Mad for Plaid campaign set to launch in late October.

“We are grateful to have such a strong partnership with the Education Foundation that is committed to helping us when and where we need it most,” HPISD Superintendent Dr. Mike Rockwood said. “HPEF’s gifts to the district are a reflection of the community’s generosity and value system that is rooted in a thriving school district.”

To learn more about the Highland Park Education Foundation, please visit


The Highland Park Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 founded in 1984 to assist in preserving and enriching the quality of education throughout the Highland Park Independent School District. Founded under the visionary leadership of George Connell, Judy Gibbs, Jack Hammack, Darrell Lafitte, Charles Seay, Don Williams, and the late Walter Spradley, the Foundation manages two fundraising programs- Mad for Plaid and the Tartan Endowment- in an effort to provide increasing financial support to HPISD for its critical needs. HPEF houses the HPHS Alumni Association with all of its activities, including Golden Scots and the Distinguished Alumni Awards, along with many other programs such as student scholarships, the Moody Innovation Institute, the Veterans Plaque, memorials, and archiving.

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