Clarence Parents Fundraising to Save Public School Programs

12:14 PM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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CLARENCE, NY -- Parents in the Town of Clarence are taking the school district's budget woes and shortcomings -- into their own hands.

They've formed an organization to raise money to help save extracurricular activities and sports teams following deep budget cuts.

But should private funds pay for public schooling?

Vic Martucci believes that sports help kids learn about the game of life. You can find him coaching players on the field during the summer as well as a trying to get people on base for a greater cause.

"We live in a very competitive society and It's important to learn how to compete the right way and learning how to lose the right way," Martucci said. "All of those things are going to come in handy when they get out in the real world."

Martucci is behind 'The Clarence Schools Enrichment Foundation' that recently started in efforts to raise $200,000 dollars in funds to help reinstate sports teams and extracurricular activities cut in the recent budget.

The foundation is run by parents and is taking off on social media. They've raised $41,000 dollars so far.  The foundation is holding its first meet and greet event Wednesday from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m at Brennan's Bowery Bar on Transit Road in Clarence. 

We asked board members if they feel it's a good idea to start funding public schools with private funding.

"It's very very slippery slope that we're on right now," Drew Cerza said. "The economy is just in a difficult situation and the way school districts are set up -- I don't know if its sustainable for the future."

Drew Cerza is a board member of the foundation, explaining this is a onetime fix for this year - to help reinstate programs that were cut.

The foundation will then continue to raise money for boosters and large capital projects.

"The private sector and parents -- they don't want to rely totally on public funding and we want to take things into our own hands," Cerza said. "So I think you're going to see more and more of this as time goes on not just in Clarence -- we're the first of many to come."

With a recent tax hike and deep cuts, we asked can the school district rebound and pay for the extracurricular activities and sports down the road.

"Yes," Martucci said. "The conversations I've had with the school district and board members are that this is a year of catch up."

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