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Quick and Dirty

Moneymakers

State Offers Matching-Funds For City Schools Fundraising Programs

By Laura Laing | Posted 6/6/2007

Sure, high-school fundraising is a tacky business. No one really needs all of those candy bars, frozen pizzas, and rolls of wrapping paper. But when the school serves some of the poorest populations in the state, these efforts don't bring in much cash either.

That's why state delegates Shawn Tarrant (D-Baltimore City) and Jay Walker (D-Prince George's County) hatched an idea to offer $3,000 in matching funds to Baltimore and Prince George's high schools. The legislation, which was signed into law May 10, will provide up to $100,000 per jurisdiction for a three-year period. All the schools need to do is apply for the matching funds.

"Our schools, when we raise money, we don't have a lot of the same resources," Tarrant says. "They're not working with the same population--with the levels of disparate income--as in other communities." Baltimore City and PG County have elevated poverty levels and truancy rates, and similarly low test scores, so Tarrant and Walker put their heads together to come up with a solution.

"This was an idea that we had that would motivate the kids to raise more money--and the parents," Tarrant says. "When you offer the kids dollar for dollar, that's exciting."

The funds are coming from the state, which is looking for a part-time employee to manage the program.

Poverty levels also explain why the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore sees far more visitors from the county than the city. To boost attendance by city residents, the zoo is initiating a new membership program to families of elementary public school students.

Starting this summer, these families can purchase a year membership for $25--a $62 savings. The Family Education Explorer Pass, which is subsidized by the zoo, offers unlimited visits for two adults and up to six children. Check your kid's backpack for a flier.

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