Imagine a class of second graders walking to the school library to find it empty, closed and dark.
Imagine a seventh-grade teacher struggling with a temporary glitch in a computer program he had planned to use that day to present a research lesson to his class. With no trained staff to help him fix the problem, he would have to spend extra prep time reworking the lesson.
Now imagine the mother of a tenth grader having to send emails and voice mail messages back and forth over the course of a couple of days to obtain simple information about her son’s progress in math. Without the benefit of Zangle Parent Connect, which would provide much of the same information in minutes, both the teacher and the mother would waste valuable time during their workdays.
If Pleasanton Partners in Education (PPIE) had not raised $350,000 last spring, and every spring for three years running, said Debi Covello, executive director of PPIE, these make-believe scenarios would be reality.
“Our job now is really in educating the community that there is an education foundation that is very committed to raising money the schools need,” said Covello.
“These funds are separate from funding at each school site for supplies and on-site programs.”
She added that PPIE and the school sites work well together, but that the school programs can’t be supported through the efforts of just one side.
“The school sites can’t support salaries,” she said. “PPIE is for district-wide needs that touch every school.”
A New Brand of Fundraising: The PPIE Giving Fund
This year, PPIE is beginning its fundraising push earlier than in past years.
The drive will include special events and different approaches to donation drives to pay for programs identified as at-risk for continued budget cuts but critical to the quality of Pleasanton schools’ education.
Covello explained that last summer a secondary board formed, consisting of site representatives, faculty and administration from each school. These groups identified programs deemed the most necessary to protect at all school levels.
“The categories include literacy and student support, science and technology, and student health and well being,” she said.
“We also established a new fundraising brand as the PPIE Giving Fund, which replaces the prior branding known as C.O.R.E. or 'I Love Pleasanton Schools.'"
Unifying the effort under the title of PPIE Giving Fund helps communicate that monies raised through fundraising are used to protect a wide variety of student programs, she said.
Library and technical staff remain top priorities.
“Schools have raised funds to purchase all this wonderful equipment, but without the tech staff, who would hook it up, maintain it, teach it, update it and handle site licensing?” she said.
“And, darn it! We all know when it doesn’t work, how frustrating that can be!”
Portions of high school scheduling were also protected by funds raised.
“The high schools were able to offer certain students a seventh period this year because of last year’s fundraising,” she said.
“As of now, won’t be back next year for anyone.”
Other programs saved by PPIE funding are elementary , counseling programs at all schools and elementary physical education.
It’s a multi-layered effort in which some programs need to be funded either at 100% or nothing at all, said Covello.
Looking at class-size reduction as an example, if the goal were to reduce class sizes at a single grade level but funding only allowed for reduction in 95% of that grade’s classrooms, none of the classes could benefit from class size reduction.
Covello does not deny that some families may be feeling so pinched financially, that a third year of fundraising can bring on some fatigue.
“We have many, many families that are impacted by the economy. We’re all impacted by all the cuts,” she said. “But in this community what I’m finding is that when something is very important to people, they prioritize.”
Only Two Weeks Left to Raise $296,000
Rather than running the fundraising campaign during the last two months of the school year as in the past, PPIE this year launched its Giving Campaign during walk-through registrations. The major portion of the program ends Feb. 5, 2012.
Last year’s fundraising for the current year netted $378,000. PPIE aims to raise at least that much for 2012-13.
But so far they have only raised $82,000.
“The final push is called ‘Super Bowl for Schools,’” said Covello.
“The February 5 deadline (Super Bowl Sunday) is to allow us to report the available funds to PUSD and the School Board as they begin their review in February of next year's budget and those programs at risk.”
Ideally, she said, PPIE would like to “get ahead of” the required “pink slips” that go out in March.
Upcoming PPIE Giving Campaign Events include:
- “Drop & Donate” events planned for Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at every school site: These will be supported by school Principal messages, fliers and banners.
- "Coffee Stop" scheduled for Thurs., Feb. 2, 8:30-10:30 a.m. at , , and the stores on Santa Rita and Hopyard. Cafe Main will be providing a free cup of coffee at the PPIE table.
- A suggested donation of $150 per student is 100% tax deductible. Online donations and monthly payments may be made online at www.ppie.org.
- A supplemental event just approved this week for Apr. 29, 2012, will feature a family-focused festival, a marathon and youth activity component.
What do you think of this latest fundraising push? Tell us in the comments.