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BSF asks for a dollar per student per day
The Bainbridge Schools Foundation is putting forth a bold fundraising plan.
The organization is calling for every parent to donate a dollar per student per day. The foundation hopes to raise enough money to bridge the $1.2 million budget gap and keep the Bainbridge Island School District from making any cuts for the next school year.
The fundraiser started April 15, when the BSF held its Spring Breakfast fundraiser, and will end June 30, which is the end of the fiscal year for the foundation.
BSF Executive Director Vicky Marsing said they conceived the plan as something that was easy for people to do. The goal is to get 88 percent of the families in the district to donate to help cover the shortfall.
Donations can be made in one lump sum or made in a monthly pledge, and donors can specify where they want their money to go – whether it is for K-4, middle school, high school or special education.
She said they had a very supportive crowd at the breakfast and raised $60,000. Currently BSF has raised $110,000 towards its goal. The organization has already pledged $500,000 to the school district to keep as many teachers and staff as they can from getting let go.
“We’re very pleased,” Marsing said. “We have a very supportive community and we are very pleased that people are supporting schools on a regular basis.”
Marsing said donations have been received from people who do not have children attending school. Donors who donate through their job will also have their funds matched by their work and a number of businesses that have pledged to match funds as well.
Marsing said she understands if people cannot donate.
“It’s not a mandatory thing,” she said. “Some people can do more, some can do less. We are appreciative of any donation, whether it’s one dollar or $10,000.”
Marsing said she does not expect any backlash over the recent requests for donations. She said the BSF have seen an increase in their overall fundraising over the years as cuts have been made to education in the state.
“It seems that people are more understanding of what the foundation does in tough economic times,” she said. “It’s becoming more popular and people understand what we do. Once they understand they are very willing to donate to it. I believe people are very generous.”
She also asks for people to write to their elected officials, such as Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge) and make their voices heard about the budget cuts. The latest budget proposal from the state senate calls for $250 million in cuts to K-12 education.
Boo Schneider, a third grade teacher at Wilkes and the president of the teacher’s association, is also calling for attention to the budget cuts and is asking for those who attend and work at local schools or who support the school district to wear red on Monday in response to the proposal made.
Rhett Stephens, who is one of the founders of the Bainbridge Island Learning Committee, said he is concerned with the long-term effects of having the BSF ask for money.
“What we’ve been seeing for years is a decrease in funding and we try to do what we can with less and less,” he said. “So we try to fill the gap by asking parents to contribute more and more money and people do what they can to support. But it’s not sustainable. You can only do it for so long.”