(Photo by Jill Bock, Staff)
"When the money's not available through the regular budget, then fund-raisers help provide the extra things to the curriculum," noted Kelly Elementary Principal Fara Jones. "We don't want the kids to feel the money stress."
For the rest of the month and into next month, Kelly Schools are raising funds by selling items that range from candy to wrapping paper to candles, Jones said.
Once or twice a year, the elementary has a fund--raiser, Jones said.
"We try to be careful not to bombard the community with fund-
raisers. A lot of schools are doing them this time of year," she said.
Since last week, Sikeston Middle School students have sold frozen cookie dough as their annual fund-raiser.
Although fund-raisers can help make up for lost funding through budget cuts, they're mostly to provide supplements to the lessons students are learning, said Sikeston Bulldog Volunteer Organization President Becky Jennings.
"The goal of fund raising is to provide for the students," Jennings said. "We want to make the environment better and reward them for doing good."
Last year Sikeston Middle School earned $13,000 through fund-raisers and the money was used to purchase a color printer for the teachers, swings for the playground, rewards for perfect attendance and discipline, prizes for Red Ribbon week and the end of the school year and small gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week. This year the school's goal is to buy a Smart Board for one of the universal classrooms at the middle school, Jennings said.
Kelly Elementary uses their fund-raising money to pay for field trips, playground equipment, technology and scholarships, Jones said.
"Everything we purchase with the fund-raising money goes directly back to the kids," Jones said. "With less money coming in, it's used to supplement what the children are learning. And in some cases, it provide hands-on experiences."
Jennings said another of the goals with fund--raisers is to get the parents involved.
"Selling is strictly voluntary at schools, but a lot of parents do help. We get a lot of support from them," Jennings said.
While the donations are always appreciated by the staff and students, some districts try to avoid fund-raisers.
Fund-raisers are absolutely necessary sometimes, admitted Charleston R-1 Middle School Principal Oliver French said, but it's something the district has tried to stay away from.
"In my personal opinion, I think we could be doing a lot more (fund-raisers) in the future," French said. "But, we hate to keep asking members of the community for more money, especially when they've already contributed so much. We don't like it, but it may be something we'll have to do in the future," he explained.
It's not just public schools who benefit from fund-raisers, either.
"Without fund-raisers, we wouldn't be able to purchase any of the extra things for students," noted Sara Ramsey, Immaculate Conception Catholic School principal.
Immaculate Conception is currently selling magazines, but holds several other fund-raisers through the Home and School Association each year. For instance, Sept. 27 they're having their annual fall sale and will have mums, hay bales, cornstalks and painted crafts available for purchase. In the spring, they have a flower sale, Ramsey said.
Money from Immaculate Conception's fund-raisers help pay for the assistance of the school's computer teacher and any extra activities, extra equipment and playground equipment, Ramsey said.
"Fund-raisers help our school immensely," Ramsey said. "Everything we earn goes back to the students, which is what it's all about anyway."