Donors bolster local schools

October 09, 1997


Staff Writer

Fort Ritchie donated $12,500 worth of computer equipment to Boonsboro High School after completing technology upgrades at its site.

The Hagerstown Coca-Cola Bottling Works donated $3,500 to North Hagerstown High School, an endowment from a long-time landowner in the county left schools with more than $35,000 and Citicorp Credit Services Inc. and the Citicorp Foundation donated thousands of dollars for computer equipment for schools and to pay for upgrades to the school system's planetarium.

The donations were part of $332,482 in gifts that were given to Washington County schools last year, according to school officials.

School officials began tallying the number of donations last year after noticing the large number of gifts being made to schools, said David Brandenburg, supervisor of accounting for the Washington County Board of Education.


There are a number of reasons behind the gifts.

Parents, for example, see donations as a vital part of the education process.

Jamie Wolford, who donated $2,000 worth of computer supplies to Williamsport Elementary where her child attends, said parents are giving to schools because they realize there is shortfall between the district's budget and what kids need.

Teri Williamson, president of the Washington County Council of PTAs, said she understands parents concerns. But Williamson said national PTA officials have been concerned about local chapters of the group doing too much fund-raising and believe it exceeds what the nonprofit groups should be doing.

The Parent Teacher Association was organized to monitor the materials students are provided with and to make sure they are exposed to good moral values in their education, said Williamson.

Williamson said she thinks PTA fund raising is OK if it promotes the goals of the organization, not to build curriculum, which is the responsibility of the school system.

"PTAs have even bought whole curriculum," said Williamson.

PTAs in the county donated $19,199 last year for reading materials, calculators, field trips, art supplies, subscriptions, teacher allotments, field trips and computers, according to Washington County Board of Education records.

Leonard P. Snyder, a former Clear Spring area teacher and large land owner, set aside an endowment before his death for local organizations, school officials said.

Schools and other organizations which want to be funded by the Leonard P. Snyder Fund Inc. must apply to the organization each year for funding.

Last year, five schools received $37,683 from the fund for library materials, musical instruments and computer equipment.

Steve Blizzard, spokesman for Fort Ritchie, said he thinks businesses want to help schools because they know that the kids in the system will someday be working for them.

"If we really need something, there's no trouble getting it most of the time," said Brandenburg.

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