Creative fundraising: Williams Elementary-Middle School PTSA loses $13,000 in funding, looks for new ways to raise money

Williams Elementary-Middle School employees Sue Hamilton and Halley Rocha remove the chair from underneath principal Carissa Morrison during a PTSA fundraiser Nov. 19. Students purchased a strip of duct-tape for $1 and secured Morrison to the wall. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Williams Elementary-Middle School employees Sue Hamilton and Halley Rocha remove the chair from underneath principal Carissa Morrison during a PTSA fundraiser Nov. 19. Students purchased a strip of duct-tape for $1 and secured Morrison to the wall. Ryan Williams/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Duct taping a school principal to a wall sounds like a student prank gone awry.

But Williams Elementary-Middle School (WEMS) principal Carissa Morrison stood on a chair and allowed students at the school to tape her to the gym wall Nov. 19 to raise money for the Williams Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).

Morrison agreed to help the PTSA because the organization has seen a drastic cut in funding after the elimination of several PTSA donation programs.

The PTSA received several thousand dollars each year from the eScrips program at Safeway and the REDcard program at Target stores. Both stores are eliminating the programs.

The eScrips program and the REDcard programs provided the majority of funding for the PTSA. The programs allowed a percentage of a patron's transactions to go to their school's PTSA. Parents and supporters could register for the programs at Safeway and Target and every time they used a credit card for purchases a portion would be donated.

"The loss from eScrips will be about $13,000 per year," said PTSA treasurer Gabi Uebel.

The PTSA uses the eScrips and REDcard funds as well as other fundraising monies to support teachers, staff and students throughout Williams Unified School District.

"We spent close to $1,300 on school supplies for teachers during the fall registration," Uebel said.

The PTSA has activities scheduled for the 2015-2016 school year budgeted for about $12,000. This includes providing funds and support for student rewards programs, teacher and student supplies and academic and sporting events.

Uebel is concerned about where funding will come from now that the eScrips and REDcard programs have been discontinued. The group has a few fundraisers lined up this year and is looking for more ways to make money. The group is finding it difficult to make-up the amount received from the Safeway and Target programs, however. Students, parents and even the teachers themselves donated money for the "Duct-tape the Principal" event.

"This event here will probably raise $200," Uebel said during the Duct-tape the Principal event Nov. 19. "It's going to take a lot of events to make up for that money."

PTSA provides healthy snacks during fall registration, AZ Merit testing, and summer school and provides food for the Muffins with Mom and Donuts with Dad events.

"We also do Teacher Appreciation Week," Uebel said. "We do something for (the teachers) each day of the whole week, whether it be food or a gift."

At the beginning of the school year a large portion of PTSA funds go toward classroom equipment for the teachers. This includes items such as school planners, paper, pens, Ziploc bags and disinfecting wipes.

"We bought the teachers poster paper that was about $800," Uebel said. "That will last them all year."

The group also sponsors many academic events throughout the year including the spelling bee, the Invention Convention, the Knowledge Bowl, the third grade zoo trip and the science fair.

They put on events like the third grade carnival, Tourist Day, and the eighth grade lock-in.

"We will be doing the Christmas Shop in December," Uebel said. "The kids look forward to that."

The PTSA also supports reward programs such as the academic field trips, AZMerit incentives, attendance awards, student of the month bumper stickers and volunteer appreciation gifts.

The group currently has 65 members who attend monthly meetings to discuss projects and fundraising.

"We've got an awesome, phenomenal group this year," Uebel said. "They don't come to all the meetings but we have a lot of support."

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