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Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010


Santa Fe, New MexicoDollars4Schools will officially launch its new website, Dollars4Schools.Org, at a press conference at the Chaparral Elementary School, 2451 Avenida Chaparral (near the corner of  Yucca and West Zia)  Thursday, September 16, 2010, 5 p.m.  This event is open to anyone interested in the future of education in Santa Fe and is in response recent public and school board discussions on closing schools and consolidating classrooms.  

The press conference will also be carried live on Talk 1260 KTRC and replayed on KBAC 98.1 Radio Free Santa Fe, BLU 102.9 and 107.5 Outlaw Country.  Refreshments will be provided by SantaFe.Com.  

Speakers will include Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools Bobbie Gutierrez, Santa Fe Community Foundation CEO Brian Byrnes, President and CEO of Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce Simon Brackley, and Dollars4Schools Co-Founder Patricia French.  

Dollars4Schools.Org was conceived and implemented by SantaFe.Com as an independent website that will allow online donations for the Santa Fe public schools. The new entity is administered in partnership with the Santa Fe Community Foundation (SFCF), which has enabled many local non-profits to succeed by administering critical back end responsibilities for them.  

The new site, which can also be accessed on Santafe.Com, will launch with 44 programs, which encompass elementary, middle and high schools throughout the city, and have been approved by the various principals and Superintendent Gutierrez.  These programs include everything from conducting cooking classes and planting school gardens, to athletics, reading and science programs, to field trips and after school homework-assistance programs.  Details of each program are provided on the web site.  

"With school budgets drastically slashed, and expectations for continued cuts in the future, it seems imperative that the community step up to support teachers and students in these difficult times.  If we value education in Santa Fe, and accept that the future growth and viability of our city depend on our young people staying here and providing a high-skills labor force, a grass roots commitment to education has to start now.  Too much is at stake to fall back on old practices in a dynamically changing world," said Patricia French.  

"Every public school and every teacher in the city is eligible to nominate programs that heretofore would have found funds in more prosperous times.  Our hope is that with a step-by-step community effort, both test scores and graduation rates will begin to improve in Santa Fe," added Bob Shaffer, president of Santafe.Com.  

"We've been working for four months, using our own funds, to design a web site that allows for easy navigability and is full of useful information about city schools, budget cuts, and needed programs."

“Thank you to Pat and Michael French, the rest of the staff and the Santa Fe Community Foundation for developing a community fundraising program for our schools,” says Scott Hutton, Owner and General Manager of Hutton Broadcasting. “The fact that 100% of our donation will be used as we intend is why Hutton Broadcasting jumped all in.  We encourage others to help as well.”  

"Our district's overall needs last spring were more than $87,000,000,” says Superintendent Gutierrez.“We had to reduce our budget by $6,800,000 in order to create a balanced operational budget which goes primarily to salaries and benefits (87% of the total budget), fixed costs such as insurance premiums and utilities, and a small percentage is used for funding district initiatives not covered by grants and other revenue streams, such as after school programs and athletics.  It's our hope that the community through organizations like Dollars4Schools.Org will help make up the deficit in such programs and supplemental materials.

"It's imperative to understand that most of our tax dollars (about 97%) earmarked for education come from the state, and the state legislature designates those funds mostly for capital outlay.  We are a rather unique state in having such little local control over how tax dollars are spent on our schools," adds Michael French.  

INFO: Bob Shaffer at ;
Patricia French at
New Mexico Public Education School Budget and Finance Analysis Bureau (Steve Burrell, Director)  505 827-3860.   
All donations to Dollars4Schools.Org are fully tax-deductible.  Donors will receive prompt notification of their donation by the SFCF.  

Jennifer Marshall