Borough PTA is short on funds

PTA looks for ways to raise more money.

By: Rebecca Tokarz
   JAMESBURG — The borough’s Parent-Teacher Association has not had as much success raising funds this year as it has in the past.
   And that’s not good news for an organization that supports the district’s athletic programs, class trips, assemblies, the eighth-grade prom and other odds and ends needed in the schools.
   PTA members could not give a reason for the lower-than-normal support from a community that has always backed its programs and understands the needs of the students in a district that is limited because of its bare-bones budgets.
   "Most of the time, the community is very supportive monetarily to the PTA. We don’t think that it’s any other reason than people are just watching their pennies," said PTA Treasurer Tammy Krause.
   In recent years, the PTA has worked to keep the district’s after-school athletic programs up and running after budget shortfalls forced the programs to be eliminated in October 2002.
   At that time, the school board was forced to lay off four teachers, an administrator and three other full-time workers in an effort to address a $228,000 budget shortfall caused by the enrollment of more special education students than expected and an increase in health insurance costs.
   At the time, the district was sending eight additional special education students to out-of-district schools at an added cost of $170,000 and had a 28.4 percent increase, or $70,000, in health insurance costs. In an effort to save additional funds, the district was forced to take away the funding for the girls and boys basketball teams.
   That’s when the PTA stepped in and offered to help keep the program running. Through fund-raisers, the association raised the money needed to cover the costs of the coaches and bus transportation to away games. Ms. Krause estimates that each of the programs costs about $6,000 to run.
   In addition, the PTA funds class trips, magazine subscriptions for classes, dances, the eighth-grade prom, a variety show and provides playground equipment and a VCR or television for the schools.
   And they provide all those services through a series of fund-raisers throughout the year.
   The PTA’s gift wrap and candy sale is its main fund-raiser and normally garners the association about $10,000 in profits. This year, Ms. Krause said about $6,500 was raised. The group is currently running its annual Yankee Candle sale and has plans to hold its annual plant sale around Mother’s Day and other events throught the remainder of the school year.
   The association is looking to find more ways to raise money to provide additional programs through the rest of the year.
   "We’re trying to put a few more ideas out there for more fund-raisers to raise more money," said PTA President Joanne Bodall.
   And the association is doing just that.
   It is hosting a Family Fun Night on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at John F. Kennedy School on Front Street.
   The featured talent will be GEIST, a visual comedian.
   Tickets are on sale for $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Children under 2 years old will be admitted for free.
   Checks can be made out to the Jamesburg PTA and can be mailed to the schools.
   Ms. Bodall said the PTA will continue to provide for the sporting teams for as long as it can, but warned that if the association can’t garner more profits from its events and fund-raisers, it might have to do a little shaving.
   "Paying for the sports for the past two years has taken a toll on us, and our main fund-raiser didn’t make enough money," she said. "We’re trying to find other little ones. We’ll try to keep funding as much as we can. We might have to cut out the little things."