School-business fundraiser on a roll | CraigDailyPress.com

School-business fundraiser on a roll

Chapman: 'Keep Education Rolling' funds increase by one-third annually

Bridget Manley

A local program that funnels funds to area schools is picking up speed.

Since it started in 2005, “Keep Education Rolling,” a program sponsored by Chapman Automotive of Craig, has increased its annual intake by about one-third every year, co-owner Paula Chapman said.

It’s no accident that Chapman Automotive also is seeing more parents and school staff walking through its doors, she added.

In her estimation, “Keep Education Rolling” has created a mutually-beneficial partnership between schools and her business.

“We think it’s been extremely successful,” Chapman said.

Here’s how it works: Chapman Automotive donates 2 percent of all its sales to educational institutions of customers’ choice. For Moffat County customers, that includes Moffat County School District schools and the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

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Last year, the program was extended to include customers from the Baggs, Wyo., area, who can designate a portion of their bill be donated to schools in their area.

In Craig, program proceeds are delivered to schools’ Parent Accountability Committees. School staff members submit requests for the funds, which PAC members decide whether to grant and, if so, to what extent.

Local educators are seeing program proceeds increasing and are taking advantage of it.

When Ridgeview Elementary School first began participating in the program, it received checks ranging from $800 to $900 each, Principal Julie Baker said.

The school’s last three payments from “Keep Education Rolling,” however, totaled between $1,200 and $1,400 each.

Ridgeview has used the funds in various ways, including purchasing books and buying teacher lunches during the school’s annual Teacher Appreciation Day.

Ridgeview has mostly moved away from traditional fundraisers and instead relies on “Keep Education Rolling” funds to fund purchases outside of the school’s budget, Baker said.

She added that parents have told her they’re thankful the school chose that route instead of asking students to go out and sell items for fundraisers.

Recently, the school’s PAC has been able to keep $5,000 to $8,000 in its account.

“We’ve been able to maintain that : because of the ‘Keep Education Rolling program,'” Baker said. “I’m very proud to be a part of that.”

School administrators have promoted the program to parents, she added, which may account for why it is picking up speed.

At East Elementary School, the program has funded field trips that otherwise would have been slashed because of school budget cuts.

“The PAC feels very strongly that those extra activities enhance the learning in the classroom, which they are absolutely right,” Principal Diana Cook said,

Like Ridgeview, East also has seen its share of program funds climb.

Cook estimated that the first check the school received from the program was about $600.

In contrast, East received a $1,700 check last year from “Keep Education Rolling.”

“It’s gone up significantly,” she said.

Still, program proceeds aren’t big enough to lure administrators away from the school’s one annual fundraiser, which generates money through candle sales.

The $8,000 that fundraiser generated last year dwarfed the $1,700 the school received in “Keep Education Rolling” funds.

And the school doesn’t plan on cutting that fundraiser anytime soon.

“Every little bit helps,” Cook said.

The Chapmans allow schools to determine what they will use their funds for, Chapman said.

There is one stipulation on how the money may be used, however.

“We would like it to be used to help as many students as possible, educationally-wise,” Chapman said.

But she’s not opposed to seeing schools use the funds for additional services and items that won’t fit on their budgets, either, she said.