PTA/PTO share fund-raising ideas

The parent organizations

assist local schools

in a number of ways.

By Holly Wright

Daily Journal

Presidents and treasurers of parent-teacher organizations representing each Tupelo school held a panel discussion on fund-raising ideas at the monthly Parent Council meeting Wednesday.

PTO and PTA groups constantly seek ways to assist schools through volunteer hours and by raising money for various projects.

Sharing ideas

Among some of the most popular and effective fund-raising opportunities are candy bar sales drives and fall or spring festivals held at each school.

Box Tops for Education, in which certain grocery companies donate money to schools when parents purchase their products, is another money-making venture in which some schools participate.

"We want to encourage all parents to do what they can," said Cindy Mathis, representing the Thomas Street Elementary PTO. "Some parents can go out and buy a General Mills product even if they can't afford to buy an expensive catalog item."

Joyner Elementary formed an alumni association this year in conjunction with its 50th anniversary which has boosted the efforts of the PTA.

At Thomas Street, grandparents are invited to eat lunch with their grandchildren at the school one week during the year and are encouraged to join and contribute to PTO at the same time.

For Tupelo Middle School, a different approach is sometimes needed to get the older students involved, according to PTA officials.

This year the school held a tape race, pitting the seventh- and eight-grades against one another in a competition to see who could have the longest piece of colored tape running through the halls. Students paid 50 cents per foot of tape during homecoming week, and the PTA raised about $2,000 for the school.

Enrollment changes

Changes in grade alignment at the elementary schools have changed the structure of PTOs and PTAs as well. For the first time this year, TPSD has seven K-3 and three 4-6 elementaries. Last year, the district had six K-4 and three 5-6 elementary schools.

"We have a little over 400 students this year, compared to 768 last year," said Johnny Davis, president of the Lawhon PTO.

That drop in enrollment due to the new grade structure has led to the PTO only being able to raise about half as much money this year, a common theme at the lower elementaries.

Clarifying regulations

A misconception that schools are only allowed to have two major fund-raising events per year was clarified after officials researched board policies and could not find any limitations on the number of money-making events a school can host.

"I think complaints come from students becoming salespeople too often," said superintendent Randy McCoy. "Sometimes in-house events such as the fall festivals are better."

Milam Elementary set a policy to no longer allow door-to-door sales of any items by students for safety reasons.

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