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Donations running short for Gadsden band trip
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — Time is running short for a school district marching band here to raise the money it needs to cover its travels overseas to perform in London's New Year's Day parade, and a parents group recently asked the city council for city funds to help pay for the trip.
While city officials say the request is under consideration, City Hall has made no commitments to provide money for the Gadsden Elementary School District marching band's performance in the 27th annual New Year's Day Parade and Festival. And one council member suggested that the district should put up some of its own funds to help pay for the trips.
The band needs to raise $300,000 to pay for 100 of its members' travel to London three months from now to perform in what is described as the world's largest parade to welcome in the new year. So far, donations and various fundraisers throughout the year have brought in about $84,000.
But the band has a more urgent need to make its next installment payment of $70,000 toward the travel costs, said Liliana Navarrete, president of a committee of parents of band members. That payment is due in October, but so far the group has only $34,000 budgeted, she told the city council recently.
“I've come here to speak for those 100 children,” she told the council as she asked for city financial help. “If we have the backing of our city government, that is going to awaken the community.”
Navarrete said the district does not have funds for the fifth- through eighth-grade students to go to London, so Gadsden students and the parents committee have been holding a variety of fundraisers and taking in contributions. Of the total raised, about $12,500 has come from contributions, she said.
Councilman Joe Harper issued a challenge for the school district to make a contribution in an equal amount if the city chooses to provide money.
A city spokeswoman said San Luis officials are considering the funding request, although no decision has been made.
Anyone wising to make a contribution can do so by calling Rocio Villa at the Gadsden district office, 627-6554.