Thursday, June 11, 2009

How will you help our ailing MDUSD schools?

There has been a seemingly never ending assault on our schools here in the MDUSD. With the failure of Measure D and the continued failure of our state to put kids and education first, it just gets worse every time we look. Next up, $12 million more will be slashed from our budget at next Tuesday night's board meeting. So what can you do?

The district wants you to donate your $99 that otherwise may have gone to Measure D, to them. I think it is a very interesting idea. This giving campaign, started by Ygnacio Valley High parent, Teresa Torbett and introduced at the board meeting on June 2nd, resulted in over $2,700 in contributions that same night. You can read more about Teresa's effort HERE . I applaud Teresa's efforts. We need more grassroots thinkers out there, as we are left in a position of having to scramble for support and lost programs. With proactive, visionary parents like Teresa out there, we will get there. She was also featured on a recent episode of Channel 7's "Beyond the Headlines" discussing the ground level efforts within our district and at our schools. She also discussed more locally the Ygnacio Valley /YVHS Community Action Group

Next up, the parcel tax may be re-introduced to the ballot in November. Hopefully the community will realize that every single vote counts. Though Measure D got the majority vote, in this instance, the minority ruled. It is not acceptable. The cuts made in the last few weeks, and surely the next ones coming, will be felt by all within this district come August when school begins again. No VP's, larger class sizes, no sports, no elementary music, reduced library services and more. Every student will feel these cuts.

Then, we have individual schools ramping up their fundraising efforts. Some with specific goals for the summer in order to supplement their programs come fall. Strandwood started by asking families to donate the $100 that would've otherwise gone to Measure D, direct to the school. Their goal is to raise over $56,000 this summer. Bancroft Elementary also started a $1 a day campaign and in just over a week brought in over $36,000. These schools and others were featured in a CCTimes Article today. These schools are looking to fund programs and assistants to aide in their growing classrooms. The impact of grades 1-3 going from 20 students to 31 will be profound. Some of these fundraising efforts are geared directly at providing an aide for each classroom come fall.

Personally, I'd like to see the individual school communities create a needs list (i.e. aides) and then create a campaign to help support that. Whether it be a $1 a day, or the flat $100, it will go a long way if EACH family contributes. I worry the district's fundraising campaign will not come close to the funds needed to restore any programs. I further worry that these monies will be considered "one time" money. Just as the district could not use the stimulus money to restore ongoing programs and positions, it seems too this same restriction would hamper the district from using any of these donations to restore anything "we" at the school levels will feel. I hope that if I'm wrong, one of the board members will correct me.

But for now, my advocacy would go toward the individual school sites to support their own needs. It is now that, we have been forced to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we must all pitch in and give to our schools. If your school is having a fundraising drive, advertise it to your community, not only school families benefit from good schools.


  1. My concern with each school taking care of the fundraising is that it will only benefit that school. Our district has a wide difference in financial ability.

    This should just be about our own child(ren), but ALL the children!

  2. Believe me , I want to save the world too. Ask anyone who knows me. But is it even possible to raise enough to make a difference without a parcel tax? Realistically? And even if we all raised 3 million or 7 million for the district voluntarily could they actually do anything with it? If they would come out and actually tell us what the plan is, I'd love that. But so far, all I read is: "Donations can be made for a specific purpose or to support district programs and services in general" I just want to hear that even if ALL 34,000+ students and ALL 4000+ employees donated, and they did earn the 3.8 million , what is the plan. But more than that, what are the chances?

  3. The problem is that everyone put all our collective eggs into the "Measure D" will pass bucket.

    We need a vision and plan for "Plan B". If we raise the money what will it be used for.

  4. Our "Plan B" needs to be a renewed push for the passage of the Measure in November.

  5. MDUSD Parent,
    Your comments in this post and the original post itself reflect the feelings of most people I know. I don't think the move to raise funds at local schools is about not wanting to give money to help all of the kids in this district, it's about donating wisely in these difficult economic times. I too would want to see a plan from the district before I donated. If concerned, why not donate to a school that may not raise money as easily as your school.

    Measure D must be our priority moving forward. As for now, just as the district recognizes the importance of local funding in their pursuit of a parcel tax, we need to recognize that same importance of local control of funding at the school site and the fact that more dollars will reach our children, the closer that money stays to the children.

  6. All 3 schools that my children go to have active PTA's.or PFC's.They are now stepping up to actively fundraise for their schools. I know many families in this area who voted yes for Measure D. But, it didn't help. The district is too large and too diverse. If parents at one school decide to take on the loss of teachers, teacher aides etc. via fundraising, they should have the right to do so. They probably already voted YES. They've done the best they can for the rest of the district. So.... if they want to anty up their donations to their children's school, they should not be made to feel bad for it.