Santa Fe's public schools are mostly closed for the summer, but the need for financial support remains.
That's one reason Patricia French, who co-founded the independent website Dollars4Schools last autumn, is urging both teachers and donors to use the site to generate interest in advance of next semester. School resumes on Aug. 15.
The website allows visitors to pledge online donations for specific school-based programs, with a minimum pledge of $25. Speaking by phone late last week, French said that so far, the site has generated full funding for 47 programs in 21 schools. But there's at least 40 more programs still listed on the site that can use help.
For instance, Aspen Community Magnet School is looking for assistance in buying science books for its STEM (science/technology/engineering/math) library. Gonzales Community School seeks funding for its after-school program. And scholarship money is still needed to send students to summer music programs throughout the district.
"This has been a very strong grass-roots movement with most donations from $25 to $250," French said. "We've raised about $60,000 so far. Our goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of the year."
All donations are administered by the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and 100 percent of the money raised goes directly into the programs, French emphasized.
She's noticed that programs requiring up to $500 or $600 are more quickly funded, and said the site will concentrate on those types of programs as it continues to attract small donations.
Still, French said she's "starting to see businesses and larger supporters come on board. The people who know the problems of the school district— teachers, teachers' relatives, families of students — understand the importance of these programs. It's a bigger challenge for us to enlist support (from people) who don't have children in the schools and don't see what happens to children once they walk through the doors of the school."
A list of programs, schools, and donors can be found on the organization's website, Dollars4Schools.org. Teachers can go to that site to find out how to apply for support.
Laugh until you cry
Incidentally, if you possess a dark sense of humor, you may enjoy visiting another site, the humor-driven cracked.com, to read Steve Blair's May article titled The 5 Craziest Ways Public Schools Are Trying to Make Money. It's funny, but it's also sadly real. Among those ideas: plastering ads everywhere (including on students' heads) and holding school-charity nights at casinos.
Free breakfast and lunch for the kids
Here's good news: Santa Fe Public Schools is sponsoring a Summer Food Services Program at 11 schools. The program is open and free to all children between the ages of 1 and 18, and you do not have to be a student enrolled in Santa Fe Public Schools in order to participate. Breakfast is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The program starts today at Capshaw Middle School and Amy Biehl, Carlos Gilbert, Chaparral, Kearny, Salazar, Wood Gormley, César Chávez and Ramirez Thomas elementary schools. It starts on June 16 at Sweeney Elementary School and on June 20 at E.J. Martinez Elementary School. Parents and adults may also eat for $1.25 for breakfast and $3 for lunch. The last day of the program is July 22. Call the district's student nutrition department at 467-3600 for more information.
Contact Robert Nott at 986-3021 or email@example.com
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