SM BAY — A new fundraising effort by Heal the Bay is aimed at providing money for marine biology education, which may fall victim to the budgetary ax at Los Angeles schools, organizers of the effort said Thursday.

The environmental group hopes to raise $30,000 by the end of the school year through its “Get on the Bus” campaign.

In the face of steep budget cuts, Heal the Bay officials said schools are cutting programs like field trips to the ocean and coastal aquariums.

“That’s because many families and communities lack the resources to make a day at the beach possible for their children,” the group said in a statement.

Heal the Bay said the trips are necessary because California students continue to perform poorly on science education assessments, compared to other states. The group said experimental, interactive and hands-on learning is a proven tool for increasing student performance.

A $500 donation would pay for 65 students to visit the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for educational programs, according to the organization. About 20,000 students visit the aquarium each year on buses provided by Heal the Bay, it said.

“Unfortunately, there’s no way that I could provide this experience for my students without the funding,” said fifth-grade teacher Marcella Carrillo, who teaches at Rowan Avenue Elementary in East Los Angeles. “These are inner-city kids and most of the parents are low-income families who don’t have time or money for something as simple as taking their children to the beach.”

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