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Parents Try To Fill Funding Void At Some San Diego Schools

About 1,000 San Diego school employees were laid off over the summer to help the district close an $80 million budget short fall. A handful of schools held on to some of their staff thanks to parent donations.

— Parent organizations and schools are ramping up fundraising efforts this year to cope with district-wide budget cuts. Some of these efforts are far more ambitious than your average bake sale.

At Jerabek Elementary in Scripps Ranch the family and faculty organization (FFO) has paid the salaries of a computer tech and one part-time librarian for several years. FFO President Debbie Janssen said this year they added two more positions to the list.

“The nurse and the (other) librarian were cut," she said. "The principal came and asked if we as the FFO could fund them, because he no longer has it in the budget that the district gave him.”

The number of full-time equivalent positions paid for with donations also rose at Bird Rock, EB Scripps, La Jolla, Loma Portal and Torrey Pines elementary schools and La Jolla High School.

Jerabek's students will still be doing their annual wrapping paper sale fundraiser. But the FFO has more ambitious plans for its annual Super Pledge Drive. They've increased their fundraising goal by about $42,000 this year, according to Janssen

“We’re trying to raise about $180,000 this year for all of our services that we’re providing and we equate that to about $200 per student. We’re encouraging and asking for $200 a student and that’s out Super Pledge,” she said. The group is also providing arts and science lessons and classroom supplies.

Families in poorer communities don't have $200 to support keeping programs and staff at their children's schools but San Diego Unified Chief of Staff Bernie Rhinerson said that doesn't mean they're getting a lesser education.

“The schools in our poorer areas are getting Title 1 funds and other funds," he said. "So we’re very grateful for the support we get from these foundations and think it’s a positive thing. But we’re very committed to making sure we’ve got equity in all of our schools.”

Schools have been looking to raise extra funds from day one this school year. Juarez Elementary in Serra Mesa partnered with Jamba Juice to offer $2 smoothies to parents and students on the first day of school.

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