Thursday, January 26, 2012
A Smokey Bait and Switch Arising at Smoke Rise?
The photos of the playground equipment above were sent to Kaboom in order to get a $15,000 grant.
Monday night the Smoke Rise Charter Elementary (SRCE) School Principal and Governance Council called a special meeting and demanded that the Smoke Rise Elementary Foundation (SREF), a separate fundraising entity, provide them unlimited access to nearly $45,000 in funds previously raised by parents and the community over the last 3 years for the specific purpose of replacing the current dangerous playground equipment. The Principal and Governance Council want to cancel the previously approved playground upgrade project. The administrators are wanting carte blanc use of the money that had been designated for the playground; including to pay an additional salary to a current full-time Dekalb County School System employee whose children attend the school.
In addition, last spring, SREF volunteers applied for and received a renowned KaBOOM!® $15,000 grant (http://kaboom.org/about_kaboom/programs/grants) to match funds already raised for the playground. After previously approving the playground purchase, the Principal and Council at SRE suggest to just “walk away” from this generous grant. Nearly every fundraising event that has occurred over the last 3 years was advertised specifically as going to fund a new playground for the school children and local community. The $45,000 includes funds that were collected via a website established explicitly to collect funds for a new playground (http://www.crowdrise.com/srplayground/fundraiser/gosmokerise) and to show issues with the current playground equipment built in 1969 and 1980’s.
The mission of the SREF (http://gosmokerise.org/) is to continually improve the educational experience at Smoke Rise Charter School by creating sustainable business and community partnerships that provide financial and other resources. SREF was established years before the existence of the SRE Governance Council and without regards to the Council. The Council believes SREF is forced to do as it says.
Parents who donated for the expressed cause of building a new playground for their children are outraged that their money appears to have been donated under false pretenses.
Please contact current Foundation members for more information: Monti Staton 678-467-6996 or Karen Weitzel 770-906-2477.
Click here to link to the photo album directly.