Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

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April 16, 2014

Caverna Elementary School PTO asks Cave City council for donation

GLASGOW — Cave City officials plan to work with Caverna Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization to generate money for T-shirts for students and faculty, plus a few extras.

Becky Garmon and Jamie Lawson with the PTO approached Cave City Council members Monday night, seeking a donation toward the purchase of 511 T-shirts, which will be more than $2,700.

“Every year the school has always purchased T-shirts for the students. (The shirts) are kind of a reward for their hard work throughout the year,” Garmon said.

The shirts are also used to help ensure the students’ safety on field trips.

“When they go on field trips, they are required to wear these shirts in case one of them gets separated, (so others) know who to bring them back to,” she said.

Garmon said money for the shirts is not in the school’s budget this year.

Nathan Wyatt, principal of Caverna Elementary School, told the Daily Times on Tuesday the T-shirt money typically comes from the school’s activity fund. For the next school year, activity fund money will be used for other things besides shirts.

 “We are doing a lot of things with Sharpen the Saw rewards and we are also taking some field trips,” he said.

Sharpen the Saw is a program in which students are rewarded for achievements such as good behavior and arriving to school on time.

Activity fund money comes from fundraisers, not from the school’s general fund, Wyatt said. The PTO stepped up and said it wanted to buy the shirts for the students next year, he said.

In her presentation to the city council, Garmon said the PTO has money it can use for the shirts, but it was hoping to use that money to pay for painting the school’s hallways during summer break.

“I don’t want to touch that (money) if we don’t have to,” she said.

Cave City Mayor Dwayne Hatcher had spoken to council members before Garmon’s presentation about making a donation to the Caverna school system’s Leader In Me program for students in grades K-12. He suggested the council consider making a contribution that would benefit all three schools in the Caverna system.   

Councilman Gary Minor asked whether the city can make a contribution to a school located in another county.

“The elementary school is in Barren County. The high school is in Hart County. Can we use city money out of the county?” he asked.

Cave City Attorney Bobby Richardson said he didn’t think making a contribution to the high school would be a problem because Caverna is an independent school system funded by Barren and Hart counties.

“The only thing that concerns me is that we can only use city money to pay for things that further a city cause or include an activity that benefits the city,” Richardson said. “We’ve got a school system through which taxes are paid. We’ve always given money here at Cave City, a little outside the law as far as I was concerned, but I really don’t think it is legally authorized, to be honest about it.”

In March, the city council agreed to make a donation to the Caverna Youth League. Richardson said such a recreational program would be “deemed a city function.”

“It performs a function that city government can or has an obligation to perform,” he said. Because of that, the city can make a donation to the league.  

The PTO does not perform a function of city government, but rather of the school system.

“This is a function within the school that the school is getting tax money to do,” Richardson said.

Robert Smith, code enforcement officer, suggested Garmon and Lawson meet with Kerri Blunk, the city’s activiies coordinator, about partnering on a fundraiser, which Richardson said he thought the city could do.

Minor told Garmon and Lawson he would contribute one month pay he receives for his work as a council member, which is $50, to the PTO.

“It isn’t much, but it’s that much,” he said.

Council members Seaborn Ellzey and Carol Ford followed suit by also donating their monthly pay.

The shortage of funds for schools is not only a Caverna problem, but one all schools across the state and nation are experiencing, said Hatcher, a former coach for Caverna.

“We want to help any way we can, but we have limitations,” he said. “We have regulations, and just like school systems have been strained, so has government.”

He suggested Garmon and Lawson meet with Smith and look at options for fundraisers.

“That would be my suggestion,” Hatcher said. “If we can’t help our kids, we all need to go to the house, in my opinion.”

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