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School drives help to support financially

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For years, Kate Pope has gone through the same routine.

Send her kids to school. Then, get hit up for cash.

The mother of two Franklin children has been asked to buy candles and cookie dough to fund school supplies for a preschool class, to buy a discount card for Franklin athletics and to buy so many other items, she can’t remember them all.

Pope usually doesn’t participate. She would rather just write a check to the school than buy items she doesn’t need, she said.

“I would personally want to know what the school needs than to buy things I don’t necessarily need,” she said. “(Fundraising) items are way overpriced.”

Weeks after parents dole out hundreds of dollars to get their kids back to school, some moms and dads are asked to support school clubs, extracurricular activities or parent-teacher organizations.

Money collected in school fundraisers don’t go to pay teachers or pay the electric bill.

Fundraisers usually fund extracurricular activities, field trips or to help parent-teacher organizations buy school supplies or put on special programs in schools.

A dine to donate at a yogurt shop in Center Grove helps a PTO. Renting a “Happy Birthday” sign at Center Grove High School helps pay for prom. Buying a mattress from Greenwood Community High School helps band students pay their fees.

Parents and students typically pick which organizations in the school are important to them and put their money toward those causes, said Erin Swisher, bookstore manager at Greenwood Community High School.

“If it is important to the kids, parents and kids will be more apt to support the cause,” she said.

The key to having successful fundraisers is to be up front about where the money goes, said Swisher, who is also a junior class sponsor.

Most fundraising efforts at Greenwood Community High School are clearly advertised, through flyers and announcements, she said.

So, parents will be more likely to give money if they know exactly where it goes, she said.

“If an organization says they are having a fundraiser, people want to know where that money goes,” she said.

Pope said she would participate in more fundraisers if she knew exactly how much of what she was paying actually went to the school and what it was buying, she said.

Instead of buying a candle, she sends supplies directly into the classroom and has written checks to the school, she said.

“We’re in full support of the school system,” Pope said. “I do understand that not all households are like mine (and can donate supplies).”

A recent dine to donate event at a yogurt shop helped raise money for Maple Grove Elementary School’s PTO.

The school’s PTO spends money to help give kids field trips, fund special programs and give teachers a stipend to buy school supplies at the start of the year, PTO president Lisa Porat said.

Every cent goes back to the school.

“Book rental and those expenses go to very specific things,” she said. “We buy things that, frankly, the school has no budget for.”

If schools can’t supply students with basic school supplies or other needs because of budget constraints, most offer means to get the supplies in schools at the bookstore.

Greenwood Community High School’s bookstore sells spirit wear and class supplies, but the money doesn’t go to support any causes.

Bookstore employees sell for 50 cents each pencils that cost them 49 cents and spirit wear at cost, Swisher said.

“We aren’t making a huge profit on stuff,” she said.

Center Grove High School parents can rent a yard sign to wish their child “Happy Birthday,” or bid good luck to a sports team competing in an important competition.

The $20 it takes to rent a yard sign goes to the school’s junior class, which organizes prom, said Kelly Scholl, junior class sponsor.

“Students are helping to make prom better for themselves,” she said. “It is a big deal, it is something our students run.”

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