‘Campaign For Future’ aims to help schools

Shortfalls created by Measure 28 defeat have citizens rallying for funds

A group of citizens is stepping into the funding gap facing Hood River County School District, and asking others to do the same.

The “Campaign for Hood River’s Future” began forming two months ago in the wake of Measure 28’s defeat, to raise money for the county’s schools, which have seen $852,000 in 2002-03 and face another $2 million in 2003-04.

“Schools are a worthwhile community charity,” said Paul Blackburn, one of the organizers of the campaign. “The more we share locally the less cutting we’ll have to make for the kids.”

Blackburn and his wife, Dr. Kristen Dillon, and several other couples, decided to create a program in which people give to the schools the amount of money they would have paid had Measure 28 passed. Donations will go into the district general fund for distribution.

The Jan. 28 measure had asked voters for a one percent income tax increase for three years, but failed statewide by a 56 to 44 percent margin.

Under the Campaign, citizens can make donations on a sliding schedule: $61 if the household income is $25,000; $111 if income is $35,000; $151 with $45,000 income; $311 with $75,000; and $485 with income $100,000 or higher.

The Campaign has no specific goal, nor has an ending date been determined, according to Blackburn. He can be reached by e-mail at paul@speedfish.com

“We’re pushing to raise as much money as possible before the budget process is done,” Blackburn said. That way, the district can factor the donations into the 2003-04 spending plan. He said any contribution of $250 or more will be matched, up to $5,000 in matching funds that were given anonymously.

Tax deductible donations can be designed for arts, music, athletics, core subjects, counseling services, “other,” and “where it is needed most.” They should be sent to Hood River County School District, P.O. Box 920, Hood River, OR 97031.

“Everyone’s saying, ‘what a great idea,’” Blackburn said. “People seem really into it.”

He stressed that the effort is voluntary, and that donations of any size are welcome.

“I’ll never convince everyone to support it,” Blackburn said. “What we are doing is making it easy for those who want to. We’re kind of paving the way.”

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