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$250K in matching funds expected to be awarded to San Juan Island School District Friday

As of Sept. 18, the Save Our Schools campaign had raised $252,713 toward a matching-gift goal of $300,000 made by the San Juan Island Community Foundation. The foundation is expected to award $250,000 in matched funds at its “Breakfast of Champions” on Sept. 26.

Superintendent Michael Soltman reported that the combined “challenge” and “matching” gifts have reached $505,426 toward restoring the $600,000 in program cuts identified last spring.

“This amazing community support has made it possible for us to sustain excellence in our school programs for the 2008-09 school year,” he said in a press release. “We are so grateful for this community’s commitment to its schools.”

The district faced a budget shortfall of $600,000 for the 2008-09 school year, caused by a decline in enrollment and a shortfall in the state Legislature’s financial appropriation for state-mandated cost-of-living increases for teachers.

The following donors contributed a total of $300,000 to the community foundation, with a challenge to the community to match it:
-- Fairway Fund: $200,000
-- David McCauley and Cloud Oakes: $25,000
-- Charles Anderson and Pamela Gross: $25,000
-- Scott Boden: $25,000
-- Roger Salquist: $25,000

The San Juan Island Schools Foundation’s “Save Our Schools” raised $252,713 in matching funds:
-- Valmark Inc.: $50,000
-- Roche Harbor Resort: $10,000
-- Richard and Joan Komen: $10,000
-- Carolyn Haugen (for the K-12 U.W. Marine Science Program): $10,500
-- Experience Food Project lunch program: $30,000
-- Purple and Gold Booster Club: $22,500
-- San Juan Island Community Foundation Donor Advised Funds: $3,000
-- 481 individual donations totaling: $116,713

“We have until Oct. 1 to raise $47,287 to access the remaining matching funds to fully restore essential services such as playground supervision, paraprofessional support for struggling learners, and secretarial services,” Soltman said in the press release.

Donations can be made through the San Juan Island Public Schools Foundation or the San Juan Island Community Foundation.

Soltman also reported that a three-pronged effort to address the long-term funding challenge is under way. This effort includes a committee designated for legislative advocacy, participation in statewide litigation to cause the legislature to fully fund basic education, and a committee conducting long-range financial planning for the district.

Residents wishing to participate in any of these initiatives can call the district office, 378-4133.

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