With no additional funding to be seen in yet another level-funded budget for the town's public schools, the Braintree Fund for Education is looking to help fill the growing technology and classroom needs through its annual fundraiser.
The 7th Annual Evening of Entertainment will feature musician Jim Plunkett (not the football player) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 17 at Emerald Hall in Braintree.
The event, which has raised over $250,000 over its previous six times, helps provide everything from projectors and iPads to classroom tools and additional learning experiences.
It’s a vital component to the school systems, whose budgets done typically allow for the technology and opportunities afforded through the Braintree Fund for Education (BFFE).
“We’re in a tough economy. And our budget is very tight. Last night at the School Committee meeting our budget is level funded,” said Pam Kiley, a member of the committee member and the BFFE. “There’s not additional resources and money available to keep up with the technology needs, so the BFFE has played an important role for teachers.”
In addition to high-tech devices for the classroom, the fund has also provided activity grants for teachers. The BFFE has helped build an outdoor classroom to allow students to study plant growth, has given supplies to a science teacher to help the students study the Pond Meadow, and given teachers the chance to buy books for a classroom library.
“There isn’t a kid in Braintree who hasn’t benefited from Braintree Fund for Education,” Kiley said.
The teachers have been very appreciative, with comments appearing in the BFFE membership thank you letter from teachers, principals, and students alike.
Yet according to Kiley, none of it would be possible if it weren’t for a supportive community.
“The BFFE is an organization that has a lot of people involved in it. We have an incredible amount of businesses that put in ads in our program book. It’s not a lot of money for an ad, but we have 70 companies year after year put their ads in and support the BFFE,” Kiley said. “The principals are very much involved and they let parents know about the event, the raffle that’s going on, it’s an organization that is very well supported in this community.”
Although the fund has already donated an enormous amount of equipment and technology to the schools in the last seven years, the demand is ever-growing, Kiley said.
“We started seven years ago, and we’ve bought over 100 LCD projectors. But when technology changes so quickly, [the demand is never sated],” Kiley said. “Now people want a short-throw projector rather than the LCD…and we still have 100 teachers in the Braintree school systems without an LCD or a short-throw projector.”
That need is what has propelled the organization to bring in support year after year, and what they hope keeps people coming back for another night of entertainment.
However, Kiley doesn’t doubt people will also come out specifically for the entertainment.
“[Plunket is] energetic, and it’s guaranteed a great night,” Kiley said. “It’s nice, it's obviously a fund-raising mission that is incredibly important to our schools…but it's also a fun night.
The 400 tickets sell out quickly, and so guests are encouraged to buy theirs soon. Especially as the event is on St. Patrick’s Day, organizers are hoping for a success.
Tickets to the BFFE St. Patrick’s Day Plunkett Night can be purchased for $25 each at the following locations: American Art (409 Pond St.), Braintree Cleaners (95 Grove St.) Danny’s Cleaners (295 Elm St.) and all Braintree Public Schools.
There is also an event program book, offering businesses an opportunity to support the Braintree Public School system, with ads starting at $75 for a quarter page and topping out at $250 for a full page. Please call Mark Kiley 781-706-2453 or email BFFE@BELD.net to place an ad.
In addition, the BFFE is soliciting items to be included in the silent auction and sponsoring a “March Madness” raffle with a grand prize of $1,000.