As “Save Our Schools,” the emergency fundraising initiative to support Santa Monica and Malibu schools in light of state budget cuts, enters its third week, more than one third of the target amount of money has been raised to restore third grade class sizes, while the initiative forms new partnerships to promote the fundraising effort.

“Thanks to the incredible outpouring of support and volunteer efforts for Save Our Schools, we’re nearly half-way to restoring class sizes in first grade district wide for next year,” said Linda Gross, the executive director of the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation, in a news release Friday.

State budget cuts of $30 million over the last three years have severely impacted the district, forcing the school board to lay off 65 teachers and staff members, increase class sizes and cut library and music programs.

Measure A, a $198 parcel tax, was meant to make up for some of the budget cuts, but was voted down by Santa Monica and Malibu residents last month, prompting parents and school supporters to join with the foundation, SMMUSD’s district-wide fundraising organization, to launch “Save Our Schools.”  

So far, the campaign has raised $414,492 from 500 contributors. The money will be put toward three goals: to lower elementary class size, to lower secondary class size and hire back counselors and to restore music and library programs. The money raised to date constitutes 37 percent of funds needed to reduce first grade class size ratios from 27:1 to 23:1; 17 percent of funds needed to restore the elementary music program; 14 percent of funds needed to keep elementary libraries open; 21 percent to hire back middle and high school counselors; and 2 percent of funds needed to lower class sizes in grades six through 12.

To promote its fundraising efforts, “Save Our Schools” created a public service announcement called “Opening Doors” featuring actors Ed Harris from 2008’s “Appaloosa” and Amy Madigan from “Grey’s Anatomy.” The clip was created by a team of volunteers lead by independent filmmaker Varda Hardy and can be found on YouTube.

“Save Our Schools” will also bring its cause to the Santa Monica Fourth of July Parade this Sunday. It will have a float during the parade that will include more than 100 education activists marching. It will also have a booth at Wednesdays’ Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets.

In addition, “Save Our Schools” has partnered with several local businesses for donations. Spruzzo Restaurant and Bar and the Sunset Restaurant and Beach Bar in Malibu will contribute 10 percent of purchases, and Rosti Tuscan Kitchen in Santa Monica will contribute 15 percent of purchases made on July 6 and July 20 and Aug. 10.

The campaign has until Aug. 15 to raise funds in time to re-hire teachers and staff for the next school year. It will end in August with a fundraising event.

For more information, visit savesantamonicamalibuschools.org.

Game on!

CityTV Channel 16 will replay the Santa Monica Little League Championship Games on Saturday at 2 p.m. and on Sunday at 10 a.m.

The broadcasts will begin with the Minor League Championship Game featuring the Giants and the Cubs. That game will be followed by the Major League Championship Game between the Yankees and the Mets.

The games were originally played and broadcast June 5.

CityTV is the government funded cable channel available to every cable subscriber within Santa Monica that reaches approximately 24,000 households.

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