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Coalition distributes $220,000 to Marin public school districts

On Oct. 24, 2012, a coalition of Marin public schools distributed funds totaling $220,000 to the public school districts of Marin Country.

The coalition, known as SchoolsRule-Marin, distributed the money among Marin’s 20 different school districts based on the schools’ average daily attendance (ADA) numbers. The money was given to support school programs concerning literacy, the arts and technology.

On Oct. 24, 2012 Redwood High School received $9,362.69 from SchoolsRule-Marin, a coalition of Marin public schools.

The Tamalpais Union High School District received the second largest amount of money (after the Novato Unified School District), with $24,268.64.

Redwood, which has an ADA figure of 1433 students, received the largest allocation in the Tam District, $9,362.69.

SchoolsRule-Marin is a coalition of the 20 public school districts, and was founded in June 2010 by Marin Country Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke along with the Marin Alliance for Public Schools (MAPS), the Marin Independent Journal, and Venables Bell and Partners. This year’s distribution is the first of what SchoolsRule-Marin hopes will become annual distributions.

According to Burke, SchoolsRule-Marin strives to bridge the gap between state funding of public schools, which was has been cut by 55 million dollars in the past two years, and what schools need to produce thriving graduates. By calculating funds based on ADA, SchoolsRule-Marin attempts to help every child in the Marin school districts equally.

“My job is to help all kids. Not some. Not most. All of them,” Burke said. “Some schools/school districts are able to raise more money than others just based on the ability of the families. [SchoolsRule-Marin] is a way to help money move across our county in a way that will be equal on behalf of all kids.”

Funds from SchoolsRule-Marin are distributed to the area school foundations, and if no foundation exists the funds are given directly to the school district.

Funding from SchoolsRule-Marin comes entirely from donations by corporate and individual donors.

Of the $220,000 that was distributed, $27,000 came from a grant made by the Wells Fargo Foundation, and $100,000 came from a grant made by the Marin Community Foundation. Additionally, the Marin Independent Journal has continued to donate advertising space to the coalition since its inception.

According to Burke, a generous donation of $100,000 was made by David Gilmour, the owner of Paradise Foods, in late October. These funds will be distributed during the next round of fundraising distributions.

Gilmour said that although his children did not go to school in Marin, he has hired many Marin public high school students, which helped influence his decision to donate to the coalition. He also said that he particularly appreciates SchoolsRule-Marin’s effort to help all students.

“I really think that the idea of helping all the students is a great idea,” Gilmour said. “I live in Ross and it is easier for Ross to raise money for the Ross School Foundation because of the higher income than people out in West Marin or even in Novato or San Rafael. You might say the kids that go to these schools in the lesser-financed areas don’t have the resources. ”

Burke said the SchoolsRule-Marin will have the first county-wide fundraiser on behalf of all kids in the public schools on July 2 at the fairgrounds in San Rafael. Next year, Burke said that those working on SchoolsRule-Marin hope to raise one million dollars for Marin County public schools in 2013.

“I think we’re doing great,” Burke said. “I think that we are definitely gaining momentum, that people have begun to understand the concept and the import of raising money on behalf of all students in our community.”

For more information about SchoolsRule-Marin visit www.schoolsrule.org or email [email protected].




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About the Contributor
Diana Tarrazo, Author