I got an email from my son’s principal, John McMorris, last night, a missive sent to all parents, asking for help.
The unprecedented plea urged parents to attend the Spring for Education auction/fundraiser Saturday at the Clubhouse at .
In the email, he highlighted some of Northgate’s major accomplishments in the three years he’s been principal that he said were a result of parents' support — things like the fact that Northgate's API (academic performance index, the measure by which the state rates our schools) score has risen by 29 points to 864. This is equal to Las Lomas, which many people consider academically superior to Northgate. The feat is especially impressive since Northgate receives an average of $5,000 per student compared with Las Lomas’ $9,000, he said.
He mentioned doubling the AP classes the school offered, as well as improving teacher training in those areas — all thanks to parent donations.
He also mentioned exciting accomplishments in Northgate’s performing arts and athletics, the result in part to increased opportunities — a football weight-training class my son takes, for instance — paid for by parent boosters.
But then he explained his plea. “Our tremendous progress is now threatened. New budget cuts by the state Legislature, and the failure to extend the life of taxes due to expire, are forcing the district to cut up to $750 dollars per pupil from the Northgate budget. In addition, our PFC Education Fund donations are down $ 40,000 dollars this year. Our situation is desperate!"
He urged people who can't attend the auction to make a donation to the education fund. "A donation of a few hundred dollars is a great bargain when you consider private schools in California cost anywhere from $ 14,000 to $ 26,000 dollars, per year,” he said.
Good point. Public schools aren’t free anymore. I know that parents have been supporting the success at Northgate for years, and as I become more familiar with other MDUSD schools, I see it happening at other campuses, as well. That’s why I am urging the community to support their schools any way they can.
Attending fundraisers like the one at Northgate or the music booster fundraiser at Saturday night will help. You don’t have to be a parent — these events are for the community, too.
In addition, the United Mount Diablo Athletic Foundation (UMDAF) is partnering with the six MDUSD athletic booster clubs to host a fun-filled "Vegas Night" fundraiser at the Concord Hilton on April 30. And on May 14, the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation will present an All Area Music Festival at the .
is holding its annual carnival April 15-17 to support Grad Night. Browse any high-school website for schedules of smaller-scale fundraisers — such as s Five Guys fundraiser (Five Guys is a burger joint in Pleasant Hill) Monday and Tuesday.
Now, many readers — like my husband, for instance — might say, “Stop with the fundraising and we’ll just write a check.” OK, you can do that, too. However you want to support schools, do so. We need it. Our communities will be devastated if we have to endure more heartbreaking cuts, school closures and the ensuing loss of morale.
Basically, that's not smart.
- Northgate High School’s Spring for Education gala, Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Boundary Oak Clubhouse. Tickets are $50. Visit the PFC website or email Lisa Lamm.
- Clayton Valley High School's East Meet’s West Music Booster fundraiser, Saturday from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
- UMDAF Vegas Night, April 30, 6 p.m., .
- MDMEF’s All Area Music Festival, Benefit and Showcase, May 14, 2 p.m. Sleep Train Pavilion.