Representatives of a Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District fundraising campaign have announced that the effort raised $550,000 as of the second week in July to help restore some teacher and counselor positions.

Through its fundraising effort, which included a commercial spot with celebrities, the “Save Our Schools” campaign made tangible gains to help restore core education programs that were lost to state funding cuts, representatives said.

“The school funding crisis has brought together residents from all walks of life, many of whom don’t have kids in local schools,” said Linda Gross, executive director of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation. “People understand that quality public education is not only the key to our children’s future, but to the future of our community as well.”

The campaign was initiated following the narrow defeat of Measure A in May which representatives said would have protected some of these programs and retained teacher jobs.

They said the $550,000 raised as of July 9 will restore three elementary teachers for first grade; one counselor or grade 6-12 teacher position; one elementary library coordinator position and one music teacher position.

“We have seen a remarkable grassroots effort by this community with the energy of more than 100 volunteers working tirelessly to raise these funds,” said Gross, “We are very proud of all of their work.”

Save Our Schools will continue its fundraising efforts through Aug. 15 to help provide full funding for first grade class size reductions, lower secondary school class sizes, and to restore music, library and counseling programs for the next school year.

Upcoming fundraising events include concerts, movie screenings, a leadership recognition event, and a community-wide Save Our Schools Beach Party.

The initiative also got a funding boost from the City Council when it voted July 13 to allocate up to $50,000 in discretionary funds to the campaign. The award includes a $25,000 outright grant and a $25,000 “challenge grant,” allocated in $5,000 increments to match contributions of individual donors.

Information,

www.smmef.org/.

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