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TUSD sixth graders raise money for outdoor education camp

POSTED January 4, 2011 10:05 p.m.
 

Turlock schools have been coming up with creative ways to raise money to allow all of their sixth graders to attend the traditional Outdoor Education camp. Some schools have put on Halloween stores, candle sales and cookie dough fundraisers to make ends meet for their sixth graders.

While some have reached their goal, others are still lacking funds for the camp in May.

“It is very creative and inspiring that we have made this a priority,” said Lacrisha Ferriera, TUSD assistant superintendent for educational services. “The community has really come together to help raise money for this. We are so grateful for the generosity of the community.”

Schools were forced to raise their own funds for sixth grade camp when the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees made the decision to cut district funding for outdoor education two years ago with a one-year delay making the cut effective in the 2010/2011 school year, said Sonny Da Marto, TUSD superintendent on Oct. 5. The cut will save the district about $150,000 and is an on-going cut as of this time.

It costs $200 per student to attend the camp. There are 977 sixth graders in the district and school sites have decided to raise money for each sixth grader.

“We don’t want anyone left out,” Ferriera said. “Those that want to go will be able to go.”

TUSD started off the fundraising process by setting up a monetary goal for each individual school site according to the sixth grade enrollment and the $200 price for each student.

Some schools need to raise up to $27,000, while others need only $15,000, based on the number of sixth graders they have.

Most school sites are using funds from their Title I and Medi-Cal Administrative Activities funding with some additional fundraising. Other sites are basing their funding plan strictly off of private donations and fundraisers. By using the Title 1 and MAA funds, schools are giving up money that could have been spent on technology, instructional materials, classroom supplies, after-school tutoring and much more. So far, only three schools have reached their goal for sixth grade camp — Lloyd G. Cunningham Elementary, Dennis Earl Elementary and Osborn Elementary. Others are close to their goals, such as Julien Elementary who needs only $424 more and Walnut Elementary with $800 left to be raised. But other schools still have a ways to go, such as Medeiros Elementary which still needs to raise $9,600. Julien Elementary has raised the most from fundraising and private donations hoping not to use their Title 1 or MAA funds. They raised $20,783 in their fall cookie dough fundraiser and $3,793 from car washes, tri tip drive through, Tupperware sales and a Foothill Horizons grant. They still have a spaghetti dinner planned, along with family movie nights, merchandise cards, sixth grade dances and spring pictures. But other schools like Wakefield are finding the majority of their money through Title 1 and MAA funds leaving only $2,000 that needs to be raised through the Parent Teacher Association and donations. Those interested in donating money to help sixth graders attend Outdoor Education can contact each individual school site.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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