SMMUSD HDQTS — In a first-of-its kind bid to lessen the impact of school budget cuts, the Santa Monica Unified School District is accepting donations to pay teacher salaries.

The school board on Thursday approved a plan that will allow donors to target their money to save programs they feel are priorities.

Money can be earmarked to pay salaries in these areas: elementary school instruction, music instruction and library services or secondary school instruction and counseling.

Donations are being accepted through the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation. Money must be received by Aug. 15 to impact staffing levels for the next school year.

The fundraising drive comes after voters in a special mail-in election ending May 25 rejected Measure A, a $198 parcel tax that would have raised $5.7 million for SMMUSD annually for the next five years.

“Because the state is obviously not gong to be able to meet the needs of our district and children throughout our state, we’re looking at ways to do what we need to do locally,” said Shari Davis, president of the Santa Monica Malibu Council of Parent Teacher Associations.

nickt@smdp.com