Dexter Community Schools Board of Education (BOE) was presented with a check for $45,000 by the volunteer organization, Excellence 4 Dexter Students (E4DS), for the continued development and enhancement of school programs.
Two years ago, E4DS grew out of several gatherings of concerned citizens affiliated with school-supporting organizations across Dexter. These gatherings focused on the needs of Dexter Community Schools in light of a pattern of decreased classroom funding from the State of Michigan and increased costs- for everything from school bus diesel to mandated retirement payments.
E4DS President, Elise Bruderly, succinctly states the group’s purpose: “The E4DS Board is filled with parents who have come together because of a belief that we can make a difference in the education of Dexter’s children. We want educational opportunities to be decided on the merits of the program and not the limitations of funding from the State.”
According to their website, “E4DS is working hard to prevent additional funding cuts which will eventually eat into programming. Dexter doesn’t want to just ‘get by.’ The funding cuts have been consistent now for years and we cannot continue to accept less for the education of our children. E4DS brings together concerned citizens, parents, and businesses in order to support an excellence in programming for our students.”
Last year E4DS raised $42,000 for school programming from private donations. At the Nov. 13 meeting last Monday, $45,000 was given as a result of 2017 fundraising efforts. Many may wonder, however, why the schools need more money for programming. It’s a thorny issue as President Bruderly explains:
“School funding issues are complex. There are different pots of money and these pots can only be spent on their designated expenses. As a result of this, actual dollars to provide programming to classrooms is currently equal to the funding levels from 1995. There is not much else that you can buy for 1995-era prices.
“The recent bond is a perfect example of this, 70 million dollars were generated, and this money can only be used for capital projects- buildings and infrastructure improvements. It cannot be used to fund teachers and classroom programming, which is where E4DS comes in.
“Because of the way the law is written, Dexter also cannot vote to increase the amount of money that is available to put towards teachers and classrooms. Some districts (like Ann Arbor) are exempt from this restriction and receive almost $1400 more per pupil than Dexter received. Bloomfield Hills receives over $4000 more per pupil!”
E4DS wants to level the playing field for Dexter students giving them the same opportunities for instruction and programming as those districts that receive more money per pupil. They believe that people should be able to influence the quality of public education their children receive and that Dexter is a model for such community support.
As a result of E4DS funding, last year all Dexter Sixth graders had the opportunity to attend EMU Explorer’s Camp where subjects such as Python computer programming, computer drawing, entrepreneurism, computer technology and applied coding in robotics among other interests were explored. Funding also provided for the hiring of two part-time math and science teachers working in Wylie and Creekside Schools offering students expanded programs.
Bruderly sums up the success of this year’s efforts, “E4DS began with a vision- of a district with ample resources to provide the best education possible for our children. E4DS continued because of the support of a community- families and businesses who understood what ‘a little bit more’ per child could mean for district programming. E4DS is pleased to be able to offer the Board of Education and Dexter Community School district a donation of $45,000 to be spent on the children of Dexter this year.”
For more information on E4DS, how you can be involved or donate, you can visit their website.