Kimme: School funds: Do the math
By Ernest Kimme
Posted: 04/06/2010 02:02:15 AM PDT
My apologies in advance: There are a lot of numbers in this column.
It is not that, as a former math teacher, I feel the need to torture people. It is that, when we are talking about raising money for our schools, a little math has to creep in somewhere.
First, the elephant in the room: $8 million.
That is the amount the Vacaville Unified School District is guessing that we will have to cut from the budget. If everything in Sacramento went right, and bi-partisan fairy princesses dusted the Legislature, we might have to cut only half of that.
The problem is that our school district has already done a lot of cutting. Just a couple of years ago, our district had a budget approaching $100 million. At $80 million today, we are past the fat and down to muscle and bone: whole programs will have to go. Elementary music. School libraries. After-school sports.
Or we might raise revenue. In Vacaville, a bunch of dedicated parents found a new way to raise money for our district.
You should be seeing the signs around town soon. On your cell phone, text the letters "SOS" to 25383, and you will be donating $10 to the Vacaville School District. The charge shows up on the phone bill. Easy and convenient!
So let's run some numbers. There are about 13,000 students in Vacaville schools. To keep it simple, let's say there are 10,000 families with students in schools, that every family calls 25383 and donates $10. That would total $100,000.
Remember, we are planning on cutting $8 million from our budget.
Did you notice all the emphasis on "our" school district and "our" budget? That's because it is "our" problem. Even those who do not have students in school benefit from good schools. At the very least, a good education will keep people out of expensive jails. But the biggest benefit is that education creates better jobs and a better economy. A rising tide raises all ships, that sort of thing.
There are approximately 30,000 households in Vacaville. If every household called 25383 five times, our school district would get approximately $1.5 million in donations.
The lesson is clear: Everybody needs to be involved, and once is not enough. Talk to your neighbors and co-workers. We are not going to prevent all of the cuts, but we can save some programs.
And if you don't like texting, visit www.vusdsos.blogspot.com. There you will be able to donate any amount you want.
And if you hate computers and texting, the Vacaville Public Education Foundation (3442 Browns Valley Parkway, Vacaville 95688) will be happy to take a check.
The numbers don't lie; everybody will have to be involved to make a difference.
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The author is a Vacaville resident and member of The Reporter editorial board. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.