The school fundraiser launched on August 19th to underwrite unfunded costs related to COVID-19 has raised over $110,000 or 44% of its $250,000 goal as of Friday. MyRye.,com spoke with Laura Slack, a stalwart for the Rye schools and the President of the Rye Fund for Education about the effort, and how the funds will be used.
Your Name: Laura Slack, President, Rye Fund for Education
MyRye.com: What is the Rye Fund for Education and what is its purpose?
Slack: The Rye Fund for Education (RFE) is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation dedicated to ensuring that the Rye City Schools continue to provide the very best education for our children. Our fundraising initiatives seek to promote and enhance educational excellence. The Rye Fund for Education is committed to enriching the learning experiences of Rye City School students and ensuring that they have the opportunities and skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond. We believe every student should have the opportunity to become a scholar, an athlete, artist and a citizen of the world. We seek to enhance the quality of public education in our community by engaging the support and energies of educators, citizens, parents, students and alumni.
Tell us about the SAFE campaign.
Slack: The Safe Academics for Everyone (S.A.F.E.) campaign was created to raise money for the District’s extraordinary expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The District will return to school this fall with a hybrid of in-classroom and remote learning and supplies are needed for both that were not anticipated when the District approved the 2020-2021 annual budget.
By state mandate, the District must always have on hand 12 weeks of protective supplies for in school learning. The District needs to acquire an ongoing supply of masks, gloves, face shields, hand sanitizer, filters and many more items to hold in-classroom instruction.
The District is interested in acquiring polycarbonate desktop dividers for all the schools. While they only cost $40 apiece, the District needs so many of them that the total cost is $140,000. The amount of ongoing cleaning supplies for the custodial staff far outweighs what the District has on hand for a more typical school year.
Additionally, in order to live stream from the classroom, the District needs cameras, speakers and microphones. The speakers and microphones will help to amplify the teachers voices while speaking through masks. In order for the elementary children to all be on the same platform when learning from home, the District needs to acquire more Chromebooks.
The District needs Health Assessment software because every student and faculty and staff member must complete a health assessment each and every day before entering one of the school buildings.
The Rye Fund for Education stepped in to help by making a direct grant of $50,000 and then asking the community to join us in giving what they can. As an educational foundation that supports District-wide initiatives, Kindergarten through 12th grade, our organization is in a good position to help.
How much money is being raised?
Slack: Our goal is $250,000!
How much has been raised to date? (if you can say how much, # donors, average gift size)
In addition to the $50,000 donated by the Rye Fund for Education to kick-start the fundraising campaign, we have received another $60,500 from over 125 donors for a total of $110,500. We have received donations ranging from $20 to $5,000. We hope many more donations will still come in as we have an ambitious goal.
Rye schools are projecting over $500,000 in unbudgeted cost related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Give MyRye.com readers an idea of the fixed and recurring costs that will need to be covered.
Slack: The District has many recurring costs due to COVID; it will need to acquire an ongoing supply of masks, goggles, face shields, gowns, gloves, hand sanitizer, filters, cleaning solutions, MERV-13 rated ventilation filters and other items to support in school instruction. As far as fixed costs, some of the items needed are chromebooks, chromebook cases, portable speakers, portable microphones, web cameras, electronic sprayers, polycarbonate dividers and health assessment software that costs $6,000 in and of itself.
Publisher’s note: you can donate to the S.A.F.E. campaign online.