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Keep Island Schools Strong breaks $200k mark

The Keep Island Schools Strong campaign has raised $236,000 to preserve teaching positions, Bainbridge Schools Foundation Executive Director Vicky Marsing said Thursday afternoon.

“We just have had a flurry of last-minute donations and it’s very exciting,” she said. “Five days ago we were not even at $190,000 –we’ve come up very quickly.”

The foundation will also count donations postmarked by June 30 that haven’t arrived yet, Marsing said.

After KISS raised $150,000, the district was able to restore 1.9 full-time equivalent positions.

“We think we’re able to save another full-time position,” Marsing said.

Reaching the foundation’s goal of $400,000 would have restored the 4.7 FTE teaching positions that were reduced in May.

“People are seeing the deadline and responding and it’s very exciting,” she said. “It’s a huge finish and just lovely.”

The foundation’s next goal is to raise $250,000 by February. The pledge also goes towards teacher salaries and keeping class sizes down, Marsing said.

The school district, which faces a $1 million budget gap for the 2010-2011 year, saw the majority of that gap come from state funding reductions. Grade four staffing enhancement and I-728 funding, both of which kept class sizes down, were cut by a total of $645,000, resulting in more than $400,000 in staffing reductions.

The foundation’s Save Our Teachers campaign raised $260,000 last year.

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