Supporters meet fundraising goal for science curriculum

June 14, 2011

By Laura Geggel

Kasten Donahoe and Abigail Serna participate in the effort to raise money for updated science curriculum. By Lynn Juniel

NEW — 3:45 p.m. June 14, 2011

After 47 days of fundraising at McDonald’s, Zeek’s Pizza and in school parking lots, the Issaquah Schools Foundation and the Issaquah PTSA Council have raised enough money for a new elementary science curriculum this fall.

The current elementary science curriculum, last updated in 2003, does not meet state standards.

The fundraising campaign began April 29, the day after the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s annual luncheon. At the luncheon, foundation community representative Leigh Stokes explained that the district had initially set money aside for the curriculum update, but after the Legislature cut an unprecedented $1.45 million from the district’s budget midyear, the district could no longer afford the curriculum update on its own.

The district committed $700,000 to the elementary science update, and the foundation and PTSAs partnered together to raise the remaining $500,000 needed.

Recently, district administrators negotiated with the curricula vendors and bargained for a better price. Originally, the update was supposed to cost $1.2 million, but after the negotiation, the price tag dropped to $1.1 million. The district is also saving money by developing a specific curriculum of its own, which has a price tag of $50,000.

Overall, the Elementary Science Initiative — a grassroots campaign endorsed by both the Issaquah and Sammamish chambers of commerce — raised $438,600. The initiative is still accepting donations at www.issaquahscience.org.

The fundraising for the initiative was almost nonstop. The foundation raised an initial $263,000 at its annual luncheon, Discovery Elementary School raised $1,650 at McTeacher’s night, Grand Ridge Elementary School raised $1,950 at Zeeks Pizza and Newcastle Elementary School won $10,000 from an All State Insurance contest.

“We are just thrilled to have partnered with the district and to have partnered with PTSAs to help our students,” foundation Executive Director Robin Callahan said. “We are so grateful to the community for responding.”

The rest of the money came from individual school fundraisers, including students dressing up as mad scientists and asking for donations. Other students joined parents in school parking lots carrying giant science signs during Honk and Wave fundraisers.

“I feel so happy and so relieved and so glad we can end the school year on such a high note,” Briarwood Elementary School PTA President and PTA and foundation liaison Beth Donahoe said. “This was really a really strong showing of support.”

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