Thursday, August 18, 2011

Textbook Pledge Drive

The Banks Elementary School PTO needs your help! Currently the textbooks that are being used to teach our children are severely out of date. The worst offenders are the math textbooks. The school’s current math books range from 9-13 years old. Why is that a problem? Most textbooks are updated every 5 years to keep up with teaching and testing standards. In the most recent state testing, only 74.61 % of BES students received passing scores on math tests. This is due in part to new state math standards being implemented and an increase in cut scores to meet those standards. Most teachers don’t even use the outdated and obsolete textbooks they have.

Doesn’t the School District Usually Pay For Textbooks?

As you may know, the state of Oregon has made drastic cuts to the state education budget. This has affected every school district, state-wide. The Banks School District was given considerably less funding this year than last year. In addition to this, the school district is also facing declining enrollment, which determines how much the state allocates to our district. For the 2011-2012 school year, deep cuts were required from the Elementary, Jr. High and High Schools. Banks SD is focusing the budget on keeping teachers (and therefore keeping class-sizes down as much as possible) and maintaining current programs. Based on this information, the Banks School District is unable to allocate any budget towards textbooks for the foreseeable future. It has become apparent to the BES PTO that the responsibility for funding new textbooks rests on the shoulders of parents and community members.

What Is Being Done?

The PTO has implemented a Textbook Adoption Fundraising Committee. The purpose of this committee is to try to raise money towards a new K-6 Math curriculum. The cost of one of these curriculums is upwards of $60,000. The committee is actively applying for grants from local foundations and corporations. We are also asking local businesses to help. Our goal is to raise $40,000 through grants and business donations. In addition to fundraising, the committee will also be sending out a letter to our representatives with a petition asking that funding be reinstated to the education system. You will have an opportunity to read and sign this letter at the Back-To-School Barbeque in September.

What Can You do?

We are asking each family to consider a donation of $100 or more toward new Math books for our children. This can be done several ways—through online payment, a one- time payment or a $10/month installment plan. If all families participate, we will raise $20,000 toward new Math curriculum.

As parents and concerned citizens, we welcome you to support this mission in any way you can! To make a donation now, click on the yellow “donate” button to the top right of this page. Thank you!