A private fundraising effort has saved one campus of the state’s Governor’s School program — and fundraisers have until January to save the second.
After state funding for the program was cut entirely in June, alumni of Governor’s School began an effort to support the program privately. Their efforts resulted in more than $525,000 in donations, enough for the N.C. State Board of Education to recommend that one campus remain open for summer 2012.
The N.C. State Legislature cut funding for Governor’s School from the state budget in June. Since then, alumni have begun a private fundraising campaign to support the program for summer 2012.
But fundraising efforts aren’t slowing down. Members of the N.C. Governor’s School foundation plan to raise an extra $475,000 in order to save the second campus.
The money will have to be raised by Jan. 17, when the State Board of Education reconvenes.
“We’re going for broke in an attempt to make that deadline,” Roice Fulton, vice president of the N.C. Governor’s School Foundation, wrote in an email.
The foundation has been leading fundraising efforts since June.
“We’ve already made progress with new potential donors and are returning to a few who couldn’t accommodate our short deadline in October,” Fulton said.
The N.C. Governor’s School is a six-week residential summer program for gifted high school students. Last year, 600 students participated in the program.
The program was free for students until 2010, when a $500 tuition charge was added.
The $500 charge would remain in place for at least 250 students next summer at either of the program’s two campuses — Salem College in Winston-Salem or Meredith College in Raleigh.
If the foundation reaches its goal, the board will likely recommend that both campuses remain open.
The success of the fundraising has allowed the application process for Governor’s School to continue normally.
In addition to continuing fundraising, the foundation will begin an advocacy campaign next year to convince state legislators to reinstate funding for Governor’s School, Fulton said.
“Despite our success in fundraising, our legislators must realize that funding Governor’s School through private donations is simply unsustainable beyond this year,” he said. “We have to turn words into actions, and convince our legislators to save Governor’s School for good.”
The Speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives Thom Tillis has said he is open to refunding Governor’s School for summer 2013 during the legislature’s spring session.
“We have gained credibility in Raleigh,” said David Winslow, an alumnus of Governor’s School who is coordinating fundraising. “We’re making the case that this is something people care about.”
Fulton said he is confident that state legislators will be open to hearing from alumni.
“We’ve heard very positive vibes from the leadership in the General Assembly, from both Republicans and Democrats,” he said. “Many realize that Governor’s School offers incredible value for the state. ”
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