Danedri Thompson

Elementary school students in Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill likely won’t be going door to door, but they will be asking family and friends to support their schools.
A number of area elementary schools including Edgerton Elementary, Sunflower Elementary, Nike Elementary and Prairie Creek Elementary Schools are hosting fundraisers this fall.
According to Bill Miller, Gardner Edgerton School District Director of Operations and Facilities, the funds are used for special activities or to supplement building budgets. For example, Miller said an elementary school may have a budget large enough for one or two field trips. Money from fundraisers may be used to squeeze in an additional trip.
“The fundraisers are just so you can have those discretionary funds to do special things for the kids,” Miller explained.
Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) at schools in the GE and Spring Hill School Districts sponsor fundraising activities and use the funds in a variety of ways.
According to Edgerton Elementary School Principal Nancy Woolery, Edgerton students are selling cookie dough and other food items through a catalogue company this fall. The funds will be used for a number of things.
“They support the character program in the building. They support teacher activities in the classroom. They help with field trips,” Woolery said. “A lot of times a field trip is above and beyond what a students’ family can afford. Our PTO is wonderful to support all that we do.”
Last year, Edgerton Elementary raised $3,720 through a similar fundraiser. The funds were used to purchase t-shirts for every elementary student and for an inflatables day in the spring.
“Our goal this year is $4,000,” Woolery said. “All of that money will be put towards student activities.”
Occassionally, PTO members may have special ideas for fund uses, Inga Smoot, PTO volunteer at Prairie Creek Elementary School said. That’s where PTO fundraisers come in.
“Sometimes what (district officials) want to spend money on isn’t what the parents want,” Smoot said.
At Prairie Creek Elementary School, an Olathe school in the Spring Hill School District, PTO officials use funds to pay an art teacher.
“She comes in twice a month or every other week,” Smoot said. “The district doesn’t pay for that. Since it’s so important to the parents at our school, we’ve asked that we could do that.”
The school’s biggest fundraiser is the Mustang March. Each of the students tries to get support for walking three miles or an hour.
“That one’s a great fundraiser,” Smoot said. “It’s almost 100 percent profit for our school. There’s no company involved. It’s just parents and then we try to get prizes for the kids donated by local companies.”
Smoot said the event usually raises more than $10,000.
Other funds from the event are used to help teachers buy classroom supplies.
“They each get about $50 to spend for their classrooms,” Smoot said.  “We’ve actually had a dip in our income. We used to give a donation of $100 per teacher around Christmas time that they could use for their classrooms. We haven’t done that in the last few years because of having less money.”
Dustin Mortenson, Principal at Sunflower Elementary School in Gardner, said Sunflower students are selling cookie dough and gift cards that allow people to go online and order the items they’d like.
“The money all goes back to the classrooms for special treats or special curriculum,” Mortenson said.
Students at Nike Elementary School in Gardner also recently started a fundraiser. Students there are selling cookie dough and wrapping paper as well as online gift cards.
Principal Lisa Thompson said the funds are used to support teachers in their classrooms. The funds also support Muffins for Moms and Donuts for Dads, breakfast events in which parents are invited to the school.
“They’re going to help provide some muffins and donuts,” Thompson said.
Those interested in supporting a local elementary school through school fundraisers can call the schools or PTO members to place orders.