Supporters of local public schools have raised more than $1 million to help save teachers’ jobs and close the funding gap for the upcoming school year, organizers with the Save Our Schools campaign said this week.
A celebration marking the end of the campaign is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 15 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Santa Monica High Science Quad, at which time organizers plan to release a final tally of money raised.
Save Our Schools was launched in May following the narrow defeat of Measure A, a $198 per-parcel tax that would have generated an estimated $5.7 million annually for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. The school board this summer voted to cut $7.1 million from the budget, a result of less funding coming from the state.
“Last week we reached $1 million, and that’s a huge accomplishment,” said Linda Gross, executive director of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, a nonprofit which funds music and art programs throughout the district. “But this week is all about doing more. If we can get more direct donations, we have a real chance of making a significant difference for next year.”
In the final week of the campaign, those concerned about education in Santa Monica are encouraged to donate cash or participate in a number of other ways to give, such as bidding in an online auction where you can purchase suite tickets to the 2010 U.S. Open or get a personalized autographed poster and script from “The Simpsons.”
Donations can be made online at www.smmef.org, or be mailed in to the Ed Foundation, 1649 16th St., Santa Monica, Calif., 90404, but all donations must be received by Aug. 15 to make a difference for September.
“We are collecting funds right up until the last minute, because every dime helps our kids for next year. We expect some people will even walk their donations in to our grand finale celebration,” Gross said.
Sunday’s celebration, which marks the culmination of the Save Our Schools’ 60-day campaign, is a picnic to which all members of the community are invited. The event will highlight the campaign accomplishments and recognize the people and organizations who helped with the campaign. Food trucks will be on hand, complimented by free lemonade and free music.
Speakers at the event include Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-41st District), Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Tim Cuneo, and members of the SMMUSD Board of Education.