School board works to expand revenue with donation button
By Lavi Ben-Dor & Isha Damle, News Editor & Staff Reporter
Over the past few months, the T/E school board has been battling its $6.17 million deficit. Because of a new proposal, cutting school programs and faculty may no longer be needed.
The proposal, approved at a policy meeting on May 23, would set up a button on the district’s website that would allow community members to donate to the district’s general fund, which supports all school programs in the district.
According to school board president Karen Cruickshank, the board is looking to raise money for a more general population through a button that takes users to a donations page.
There are “lots of people who want to go to [the] website and have an easy way to just ‘click’ and donate money. I think the population is really used to doing that—they’ re used to going to a website, clicking a button and making a donation,” Cruickshank said.
Initially, according to Cruikshank, the website will provide information to send a check to a specific address, but hopes that by the end of the summer the board will have a PayPal program.
“To start with, the [school board’s goal] is going to be kind of broadit’s
to gain more contributions towards the general fund,” Cruickshank said. “I think that once [the button] has been up there and we have time to see how it works, [the school board] will start narrowing its focus more and do more with publicity to make sure people know about it. More will develop once [people] start getting used to it.”
The public has always been able to contribute to the school district, but donations are usually in the form of items like SmartBoards and books. According to Cruickshank, the board but has never promoted its ability to accept financial donations.
Though the board hopes that the revenue the button creates will alleviate the district’s budget deficit, Cruickshank does not believe that it is the only solution for helping the district’s financial situation. She said that the best way to resolve the crisis is for the community to rally together and help the board succeed in its negotiations.
“The problem is a multimillion dollar problem. So, do we think that we can raise millions? I don’t think we can…[the button] is one piece of the puzzle that is our answer [to the financial situation],” Cruickshank said. “If everybody [in the district] does a little—if everybody does a piece of the puzzle—then we can find our way through this. I don’t think this is the only answer, because the problem is too big—I think it really has to be solved a multitude of ways.”
Junior Surabhi Ghai said that she believes the button will be utilized and helpful.
“I think that a donation button is a great idea. We receive a great education, so I think most people who can afford it will be willing to donate, especially now more than ever because of the circumstances with the increasing deficit,” Ghai said. “I don’t know how much money it could potentially raise, but any amount would help.”
David Levine, father of sophomore Noah Levine, agrees. He donated $100 for each of the 53 total years his family has studied at T/E schools at the March 27 board meeting after understanding the difficulty of the budget situation.
“I had gone to the meeting with no intention of donating, and I listened to the students and the board members talk,” Levine said. “I knew the board’s hands were tied, and I decided to write a check as an appreciation for the great work the board has done.”
Levine also believes that a donation button could succeed if the board publicized it so that the community would know how to donate.
“I think it’s a great a idea, [but] I think it’s probably going to need some people to encourage others to contribute, to explain what a good deal Tredyffrin-Easttown is and what exceptional schools we need to contribute to,” Levine said. “It needs to be more than just a button.”
Cruickshank admits that the success of the button is not easily predictable, but hopes for the best.
“I would like to say that I’m pretty optimistic about the success of the button, but I don’t know. Money is tight for a lot of people, so I’m willing to be cautiously optimistic,” Cruickshank said.
Lavi Ben-Dor can be reached at email@example.com.