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Muirlands seeking to fill supply funds gap

Muirlands Middle School’s fundraising campaign to provide classroom support is off to a good start, having raised $20,000 so far this year, but it’s not enough to plug the massive hole in the supply budget, foundation President Alison Lee said.

A nationwide recession that has severely crippled resources for public schools is being felt throughout San Diego. The Muirlands supply budget has been cut from $90,000 to $1,000, making it almost impossible to afford classroom essentials.

“We are forced to ‘go green’ as there is really no budget for simple things like paper,” said PTA member Lisa D’Angelo. “We really need donations from the community to supplement the things we need.”

But Principal Chris Hargrave said paper is more important than ever before because teachers are using photocopied articles as opposed to large textbooks.

“Now a lot of the teachers are implementing strategies they did in college where they’ll make copies of a two-page maybe nonfiction article or a short story and teach the kids how to interact with the text,” she said. “To write down questions in the margin, underline important information, write down what you’re thinking as far as how the theme of the story is developing… So to interact with the text the kids have to have it in their hands.”

Hargrave said buying paper is where most of the budget goes. Students already bring their own pencils and pens, and through Prop. S, the school has roughly 100 laptops to provide for classroom exercises.

The foundation sets a goal each year of bringing in $100,000.

“We seem to raise around $100,000 plus or minus $15,000 each year,” Lee said. “It would be great if we could raise $150,000 just so we could have more flexibility.”

Hargrave said it is especially hard to raise money for a middle school because parental involvement is low for the few years students actually attend.

“In elementary school (parents) see their children’s parents because they have play dates and have birthday parties and participate on sports teams together, so they see where they’re money is going and are more willing to donate to elementary schools,” she said. “In high school you have kids who participate in athletic programs and that’s a huge draw for parents to donate money because their kids are playing.”