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Mohawk Valley Elementary seeking funds
As schools across the nation struggle with tightening budgets, the Yuma Sun staff sat down with area school districts to find out what Yumans could do to help out. This story is one in a series called “All I want for Christmas.”
With a decline in funding in recent years, Mohawk Valley Elementary School is lacking dollars for activities like field trips and assemblies as well as for supplies and updated computer software.
With a $50,000 drop in funding due to a 20 percent decline in student enrollment, on top of an already $300,000 loss of annual revenue from the state over the past five years, Superintendent Doug Rutan said that they are having to curtail a lot of “academic motivators” that students look forward to outside of class.
An almost 50-mile trip from town, Mohawk Valley Elementary School is located in an isolated part of Yuma County in Roll.
Rutan shared that because the campus is so far separated from many attractions and historical sites found in Yuma, field trips can often get expensive.
“With a school that's isolated like ours, to make a trip to Yuma it's 100 miles round-trip, and we have to pay for bus driver time, plus there is gasoline we have to pay for,” said Rutan.
While they receive funds from the state to transport students to and from school, field trips are not reimbursable, he noted.
Rutan explained that they are grateful, however, for groups that offer to help pay for students to go on trips. For example, the East Valley Optimist Club is paying for students to attend the Christmas Village during holiday break.
Also, Mohawk's PTO recently paid for honor roll winners to attend a theater performance in El Centro.
In both instances though, he noted that they've had to pay for transportation costs out of their own budget - which can take a quite a toll.
“In the spring we'd like to take some classes to the Phoenix Zoo or the Science Center in Phoenix, but we've kind of had to curtail that because of the cost,” Rutan shared.
As far as assemblies go, to bring in outside singing groups, sports stars, magic shows, science demonstrations and animal shows, costs about $400 to $600 a performance, funds that are needed elsewhere.
“We curtail those too, which is kind of sad because our kids are so isolated here anyway, so this makes them even more isolated because they don't have traveling groups coming through to entertain them at all,” he stated.
Rutan shared that they are also experiencing a shortage of teacher supplies in the classroom as they've had to limit what they can buy.
Additionally, useful computer software in their computer lab is constantly needing to be updated, and that can also get pricey.
“The math (software) we have will track students individually, so if you get three problems right in a row it makes the next one harder; so it grows with your skills so it keeps you motivated,” he said.
If community members would like to donate to the campus, Rutan said that he would encourage them to do so to help offset many costs that they face.
“We have less money than I've ever experienced in my years in education... We don't have nurses, we don't have P.E., we don't have music programs, we have no extras for our students and because of their isolation their families aren't able to do a lot, either,” said Rutan.
“So if people can help expose our kids to more of the arts and sports and more of the different other ways to bring in some academic motivation, it'd just be wonderful.”
In addition to contacting the school at 785-4942 to find out how to donate, or bringing supplies by the campus, 5151 S. Avenue 39E, Roll, Ariz.; Rutan shared that tax credits are also an option as they are a win-win for the school and also the taxpayer.
To download a tax credit form, visit www.mohawkvalleyschool.org and click on the “Helpful Links” tab. For more information about tax credits, which are due by Dec. 31 for the 2012 calendar year, contact Delia Salcido at 785-4942 ext. 302. Taxpayers who file a tax return as single or head of household are eligible to receive a tax credit up to $200, and married couples filing a joint tax return, up to $400.