KMS boosters near Nature's Classroom financial goal

In wake of state ruling, volunteers are close to raising money needed for trip early next month

By Ted Hayes
Posted 10/17/19

The Kickemuit Middle School PTO is close to raising $45,000 to send 170 students to the Nature’s Classroom trip in Charlton, Mass. early next month, and PTO members are making a final push to …

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KMS boosters near Nature's Classroom financial goal

In wake of state ruling, volunteers are close to raising money needed for trip early next month

Posted

The Kickemuit Middle School PTO is close to raising $45,000 to send 170 students to the Nature’s Classroom trip in Charlton, Mass. early next month, and PTO members are making a final push to raise the last $6,000 needed for the trip.

The annual trip, in which students learn about nature, science, math and more in a hands-on wooded classroom setting, was threatened earlier this school year after the state education commission announced that school districts are now prohibited from requiring parents to pay for the field trips that have an instructional purpose. The news meant that since parents cannot be required to pay for this trip or any educational field trip, the PTO was forced to raise the entire amount needed to fund it.

Since the state ruling came out, PTO president Amy Bratsos said that after the ruling came out, the PTO informed parents that they would not be required to continue paying their balance for the trip, but could instead donate whatever balance they had remaining. Some made those donations, and others asked for their deposits back.

Since then, parents and students have gone full out to raise the remaining funds and to date, about $39,000 has been raised.

Donations have come in from local businesses, restaurants have dedicated percentages of their sales to the effort, a GoFundMe page has also brought in donations, and items, including Huskies Christmas ornaments, are being sold to raise money. Apart from straight monetary donations and sales, financial help has come in from other areas. The PTO switched bus companies for the trip, saving several thousand dollars, and the Nature’s Classroom organization, which receives federal grants to help run its programs, gave the Kickemuit group a roughly 22 percent discount on its fee. A grant also came in from the Bristol Warren Education Foundation.

“The money is trickling in,” Ms. Bratsos said. “We’re hopeful that we can make a big final push and get it done.”

With the trip scheduled for Monday to Friday, Nov. 4 to 8, the clock is ticking, Ms. Bratsos said. Several more restaurant fund-raisers, at which restaurants donate a percentage of their take, are planned. In addition, the GoFundMe page is still open.

Restaurant nights include:
* Thursday, Oct. 17: Papa Gino’s in Warren
* Monday, Oct. 21: Paizzoni’s, Warren
* Thursday, Oct. 24: Bristol Buffet

Papa Gino’s and Bristol Buffet both require a flyer to be brought in by diners to be eligible for a 20 or 10 percent donation based on their bill, respectively. You can find flyers on the Kickemuit PTO Facebook Page. At Paizzoni’s, just tell waitstaff that “You’re with KMS.”

You can find the GoFundMe.com page here. 

Ms. Bratsos stressed that if the PTO fails to raise the amount needed to fund the trip, all donations will be returned.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.