While some districts have been able to rebound better than others, no district has been left unscathed by the cuts, whether in teacher and staff layoffs, class size increases or cancellation of programs such as art, music and physical education.
Parents in the Brentwood Union School District rallied last year with the inaugural Run For Fun’ds, a run/walk that raised more than $15,000 for the district’s 10 schools. This Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8 a.m., families from the Brentwood schools will return to the field between Garin Elementary and Edna Hill Middle schools to complete as many laps as possible to raise additional funds for their schools. Last year, the net total was divided evenly between the schools, but this year, schools will collect funds raised by their students. As an incentive, the school with the most registered participants will receive a $500 bonus. The event is open to the community. Registration is $20.
“Our schools still need our help so that they can offer the best services to our children,” said event organizer Beth Zeigler. “It’s not about helping one school or all the schools; it’s about helping the children of our community.”
For more information, visit www.busdrunforfunds.org.
While no other districts in the area have launched a fundraiser of that magnitude, others might take the cue from the Brentwood district. Brentwood Elementary launched the Brentwood Bazaar, a massive rummage sale, a few years ago. Through this fundraiser, vendors rent a space on campus and sell their goods and housewares. The school raises money and participants get to keep the proceeds from their sales – a win-win. Brentwood Elementary raised more than $3,500 at its spring bazaar, and event organizers hope to enjoy similar success at the fall bazaar, scheduled for Oct. 22.
Similar events will be offered at Discovery Bay Elementary (Sept. 17) and Laurel Elementary (Sept. 24) in Oakley. Pioneer Elementary, also in the Brentwood district, is launching its first rummage sale on Sept. 24. Pioneer Parent Club member Kris Simone said the parent club was looking for a new way to raise money for the purchase of equipment and school supplies. Based on Brentwood Elementary’s success, the rummage sale model seemed worth a try.
School fundraisers such as candy sales and magazine subscription drives remain a staple of annual fundraising efforts, but more parent clubs are thinking outside the box. Marsh Creek Elementary in Brentwood will host a scrapbook fundraiser on Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For $50, scrapbooking fanatics will be set up with a 4-foot workspace. Scrapbook supplies will be available at a discounted price, and lunch, dinner and snacks will be provided. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of a school marquee.
Another way parent clubs are raising money for their schools is by partnering with local businesses to host fundraisers in which a portion of the proceeds benefit the school. Ron Nunn Elementary in Brentwood hosts fundraisers at Yogurt Pizzaz, Chuck E Cheese, Mountain Mike’s, Panda Express, Rubio’s, Lumpy’s Diner, Digger’s Diner and Grazie. Nunn Elementary’s first fundraiser of the school year, held at Togo’s, garnered $810.
“We have a tremendous support system at our school,” said Parent Club member Jamie Connors. “Whether it be our teachers, staff, parents, kids, family and friends of the Ron Nunn community, everyone has the same goal in mind: raise funds to make our school the best it can be for our children.”
There are, however, plenty of ways to support schools without attending special events. Brentwood Elementary collects recyclables every Friday at 8 a.m., before classes commence. Since every little bit helps, the Brentwood community is invited to drop off plastic bottles and soda cans, which will be taken to a recycling center in exchange for money.
Supporting schools can be as easy as shopping at a grocery story. Most schools collect Box Tops, a proof-of-purchase label that appears on General Mills products such as Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Cheerios. Participants simply clip out the labels and return them to the school.
Kathleen Bates, who manages the Box Top program at Ron Nunn, said collecting Box Tops is a good way to support your school. “It doesn’t seem like much, since each Box Top is worth 10 cents, but last year, we raised $2,400 just from Box Tops. That’s a lot of clipping and saving, but it’s worth it.”
Those with no children or relatives attending a local school are also encouraged to collect Box Tops and return them to the school office of their choice. “These Box Tops appear on products you already use every day,” said Bates, “so why not save them to support your schools?”
For more information about school fundraiser events and programs, contact your local school or parent club.