Schools get creative to raise needed cash

Principals are kissing pigs. Kids are busking at BART stations, their violin cases open to collect cash.

And dog look-alike contests? Sure - anything to raise cash for classrooms.

These days, parents are thinking outside the bake-sale box to raise money for schools to save what most people consider basic to California education - music, art, libraries, books, field trips and even paper, pencils and toilet paper.

The scope of school fundraising is ranging from small potatoes to big business, with high-powered auctions or festivals raising dollars into six digits.

But as schools across the state reel from about $20 billion in budget cuts over the last few years, no fundraising is too small or too quirky.

Parents are still baking cakes, but they're also brainstorming creative ways to generate money, said Annie Bauccio Moore, a San Francisco mother who co-founded the nonprofit K-12 advocacy group Educate Our State.

One city school held a fabric sale. Another auctioned off brown-bag lunches.
McKinley Elementary, where Moore's two children go to school, has held a festival the past few summers featuring a dog show, with blue ribbons awarded for best bark, best trick and pets that look most like their owners, or vice versa.

As fun and beneficial as the events are, "it's really tragic what we've come to," Bauccio Moore said.
Still, parents are forced to debate what will get cut from classrooms.