2008 -2009 News

From the Tribune on September 13, 2009

"A committee of parents and community members recently raised more than $100,000 for Atascadero schools — a contribution welcomed after large cuts in state funding.

A $15,000 anonymous donation will be given directly to the district’s elementary school libraries. The remaining money will be distributed to teachers in the form of grants.

The Committee in Support of Atascadero Public Schools formed in 2007 to raise grant money for educational programs, and a dinner and auction in late August raised $107,000 — making it the largest single fundraiser for the Atascadero Unified School District.

“The level of attendance and participation in this fundraiser, especially in the context of the current economic climate we all live in, was nothing short of inspirational,” Superintendent John Rogers said. “It is amazing to see evidence of the commitment to our children and our schools demonstrated by the volunteers, donors and contributors to this event.”

The committee selected the elementary libraries as a “specific fund-in-need” project because it helps all students, Chairwoman Jeannie Malik said.

State funding for elementary school libraries has declined to $4 per student this year; a decade ago, it was $33 per student — $43 in today’s money when adjusted for inflation.

Many districts have used money that would otherwise go to libraries to help balance their budgets. That happened in Atascadero, Rogers said.

The donated money would likely be used to purchase books, support a reading incentive program called “Battle of the Books” and update computer equipment.

In addition, each year the committee uses donated funds to award small grants to teachers who request the scholarships. Teachers can apply for up to $1,500.

In the past, the money has been used for a kindergarten math workshop, college field trips for youngsters in the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, lab equipment, classroom supplies, exercise bicycles and current-event magazines.

The next round of grants is scheduled to be awarded in October.

School officials say this kind of funding is key to keeping elective programs available to students. Each year, PTA organizations raise tens of thousands of dollars for various schools for field trips, science camps, materials and activities for students.

“It is through these private fundraising efforts that, despite the state’s decreasing support of education, our students are still able to enjoy new library books, new materials, and are able to participate in a variety of activities that assist educational and intellectual growth, provide leadership experiences and provide opportunities to build strong relationships,” Rogers said."

From the Tribune on July 25, 2008

C.A.P.S. (Committee in Support of Atascadero Public Schools), is excited to announce a generous donation of $2,000 from OptiSolar Inc. Hayward-based OptiSolar manufactures photovoltaic (PV) modules and produces power from its own solar farms. Since OptiSolar is in the process of building a solar farm in the Creston area, they are committed to helping the schools their employees’ children attend.

With an additional private donation of $500 from the Lawrie family of Atascadero, CAPS will be able to purchase school memberships to the Paso Robles Children’s Museum for all of Atascadero’s elementary schools, including Creston / Carissa Plains. Classes that take field trips to the museum will receive standards-based instruction in the sciences, math, and/or visual and performing arts. Its purpose is to develop and maintain an interactive educational facility for the children, families, and educators in our community.

From the Tribune, 9/18/09

Good work in raising school funds!

"We’re delivering an apple-a-day bouquet to the Committee in Support of Atascadero Public Schools for raising $107,000 for public education.

The contributions will help fund elementary school libraries and will pay for small grants for individual teachers to help them with special projects, field trips, classroom equipment and other “extras” that have been in short supply on account of state budget cuts.

It’s unfortunate that public schools have to struggle to maintain programs that used to be taken for granted — including bus transportation, libraries, art and athletics — but it’s inspiring when a community like Atascadero steps up in such a big way."