Templeton High School Principal Thomas Harrington is taking an unusual approach to fundraising: asking parents for money directly.
He’s requesting that families donate at least $50 apiece to support a variety of student programs affected by state and federal funding cuts. Templeton High has already received “quite a few checks” from folks eager to help, he said.
“We try to keep the cuts as far away from the classrooms as possible,” Harrington said, and some programs have suffered as a result. “We want to make sure our students have those avenues available to them.”
On Sunday morning, Harrington emailed a letter to the families of most of the 750-member student body — addressed to “Eagle Family & Friends” — seeking donations to purchase art supplies, science equipment, library reference materials and more.
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He’s also asking for money for entry fees, travel costs and other expenses for Templeton High School’s acclaimed Mock Trial team.
Rather than wait until the start of the 2012-13 school year, Harrington said he’s turning to parents over the next two months to “help make up for where the state budget has fallen short.”
“We do not want to be put in a situation where we’re having to react to a vote in November,” Harrington said, when California voters will consider Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative to raise sales and income taxes in support of education.
Although Templeton Unified School District could see $1.4 million in cuts should the initiative fail, Superintendent Joe Koski said the district is in solid standing.
“I want to assure the community that (Templeton Unified) is in a very strong fiscal position,” Koski said. “We’re projected to have a positive budget.”
Koski added that the district, which includes two elementary schools and a middle school, receives about $250,000 a year from the Templeton Education Foundation and other community groups. That’s about 1 percent of the district’s roughly $20 million budget.
However, Harrington said, more help is needed at the high school, which does not have a parent-teacher organization.
“We’re not just teaching between 8 (a.m.) and 3 (p.m.). We’re not just teaching those core subjects,” he said. “We’re trying to create well-rounded students.”