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Schools awarded $82,577 in grants.

Byline: Anne Williams The Register-Guard

The Eugene Education Fund has awarded 59 grants totaling $82,577 to local schools, with more likely to be handed out as donations trickle in before the end of the year.

The grants, awarded to every Eugene district school that asked for one, range from $495 for a computer-aided design program at South Eugene High School to $2,000 for a musical at McCornack Elementary.

The EEF also announced grants totaling $42,161 - most of them funded through bids at a recent fundraising gala - for six district-wide programs: hands-on elementary science kits; free vaccines and dental care for students; hydrogen fuel cells for physics and chemistry; new books for middle-school students and mentors; sheet music for high school choirs; and outreach to help struggling parents connect with schools.

Grant proposals were due Oct. 1. The EEF received 113, one or more from every school except Bertha Holt Elementary and Madison Middle School.

While the total grant amount of $124,738 is lower than last year, the EEF is on pace to break its annual fundraising record, said David Meredith, the organization's executive director. This week's tally stood at $641,537 - $123,393 more than had been collected at the same point in the campaign last year, he said.

What's happened this year, he said, is more donors earmarked gifts for particular schools. Most of those came from families at schools with large numbers of involved, relatively well-off parents, Meredith said, such as Crest Drive, Charlemagne at Fox Hollow and Edison elementary schools. In past years, more donors have given unrestricted gifts, which end up in a general grant pool. The EEF also takes 5 percent of any earmarked gift for the general pool.

The EEF's board of directors, along with two community reviewers, evaluated each grant proposal and decided earlier this month which to fund first.

The group placed all unfunded proposals on a ranked list, with proposals from schools with comparatively high numbers of disadvantaged students - Howard, Family School, Meadowlark, Awbrey Park, Adams, Cesar Chavez and Harris elementary schools; the Arts & Technology Academy at Jefferson; and the Opportunity Center - making up the top 10.

"Lots of money is still coming in, and at the top of the list are the least advantaged third of schools," Meredith said.

One trend in this year's batch of applications was a focus on technology, EEF board president Heidi Pollock said.

"Technology was at the forefront this year, but a lot of board members still love reading," said Pollock, an insurance agent with two children at Cal Young Middle School and one at Gilham Elementary. "They still tend to rate things (highly) that have to do with the good old basics."

Pollock, in her fourth year on the board, said she thinks it may be time to reconsider the way grants are distributed, to ensure fairness.

For instance, she said, she was troubled this year with giving most elementary schools $2,000 grants, regardless of school size, and giving so much to North Eugene High School compared to the other three high schools. North now consists of three separate small schools, which the board considered separately.

"I think that our challenge is trying to balance the money that comes in," she said. "We need to allocate based on the schools that have the lower-income kids, but we also need to take into account the schools that have larger student populations."

Pollock also wants to see all schools submitting proposals - lots of proposals.

"I'd love to read twice as many grants," she said, noting that parents and other potential donors can read all grant applications online and may be inclined to fund them.

Eugene Education fund grants

To read the "Top 10 Proposals-in-Waiting" or any other grant application, visit www.eef.lane.edu and click on "Grants."

Adams Elementary: Academic field trips to coast, Salem and more, $2,000

Awbrey Park Elementary: Interactive SmartBoard, $1,748

Buena Vista Elementary: Training for Spanish literacy, $2,000

Cesar Chavez Elementary: Academic field trips, $2,000

Charlemagne at Fox Hollow Elementary: Literacy through books and MP3 players, $1,997

Coburg Elementary: Computer projectors for laptops, $1,923

Corridor Alternative Elementary: Children's theater production at Hult Center, $2,000

Crest Drive Elementary: Fifth-grade outdoor school, $2,000

Eastside Alternative Elementary: Multicultural storytelling, $1,960

Edgewood Elementary: Document cameras, $2,000; family literacy night, $500

Edison Elementary: CD recording project, $1,000; recorders, $905

Family School: Field trips to Mount Pisgah, OMSI and more, $2,000

Gilham Elementary: Networked printer, $2,000; a simulated Oregon Trail, $1,000

Harris Elementary: Cultural field trips, $2,000

Hillside Alternative Elementary: International outdoor school, $2,000

Howard Elementary: Clickers for instant surveys, $2,000; read-aloud picture books, $500

McCornack Elementary: Upper-grade community musical, $2,000

Meadowlark Elementary: Interactive SmartBoard, $1,750

Parker Elementary: Fifth-grade outdoor school, $2,000; books that illustrate good writing, $500

River Road/El Camino del Rio Elementary: Books at specific skill levels, $2,000

Spring Creek Elementary: MP3 players for literacy, $490; teachers share technology skills, $1,500

Twin Oaks Elementary: Additional instructional support for Homework Club, $2,000

Willagillespie Elementary: Student/parent reading collaboration, $2,000

Yujin Gakuen Elementary: Breakfast club for reading, $2,000

Arts & Technology Academy: Wireless "chalkboards," $1,975

Cal Young Middle School: Clickers for instant surveys, $2,000

Kelly Middle School: Orientation for sixth-graders, $2,000

Kennedy Middle School: Family math night, $500

Monroe Middle School: Interactive science assemblies, $1,500; books for spontaneous reading, $500

Roosevelt Middle School: Sixth-grade bicycle safety program, $1,995

Spencer Butte Middle School: Integrating sustainability into curriculum, $500; classic children's novels for library, $1,200

Churchill High School: Positive Behavior Support program, $1,700; laboratory safety glasses, $720; Vex FIRST robots, $635

North Eugene High School: Document cameras, project pages and objects for classroom viewing for Academy of Arts, $2,000; Saturday School for School of IDEAS, $2,000; document cameras for North International High School, $2,000

Sheldon High School: LCD projectors for English department, $1,000; interactive SmartBoard, $2,000

South Eugene High School: Understanding structure through comics, $499; Vectorworks computer-aided design, $495; guest artists from Mexico, $2,000

International High School: Africa Celebration, $1,000; Eurasian Conference, $1,850

Opportunity Center: Interactive SmartBoard, $2,000
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Title Annotation:Education; Every Eugene district school that applied received at least one grant, funded by contributions from private donors
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 10, 2007
Words:1045
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