TAVARES — One of the great challenges for parents and area residents who care about their local schools, Sandy Wooster said, is figuring out how to fund all those academic programs at a time when budgets are so tight.
“We need to keep running their clubs, like the Band club,” said Wooster, a member of the Tavares Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization. “We even have a little Animal club. All of these clubs have to generate money.”
So if it costs money to operate student groups, but the schools have been coping with cutbacks at the local, county and state level, what’s the solution?
Parking spaces, Wooster decided.
“I wanted to find a way to raise money so we are not nickel and diming our parents, and do one fund-raiser that will help bring in some money,” Wooster said. “I started thinking about it, and thought, what if we did a massive yard sale and sell the parking spots to community members?”
She even came up with a name: the Trinket & Treasure Sale – not only a fund-raising event, Wooster added, but a way for the entire community to get together for one afternoon of fun.
“I thought, ‘Wow, if we were to sell parking spots, then we’ll keep the proceeds from the parking spot, and that would not only be able to support us as a school campus and community, but also be able to reap the benefits of friendships they haven’t seen for a long time,” she said.
The Tavares Middle School’s Second Annual Trinket & Treasure Sale will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It takes place in the school’s parking lot at 13032 Lane Park Cutoff. The sale, first launched last year, benefits the school’s PTO, and last year’s sale certainly exceeded the organizers’ expectations.
“Last year’s success was largely credited to all of our volunteers, parents and community,” said Wooster.
The way it works is this: Parking spots at the school are being sold at $15 apiece, or two for $20. The event is expected to feature 100 parking spots open to crafters, yard sales, holiday decorations, home businesses and more.
It’s not only a great event to help the PTO, she said, but also a golden opportunity for small business owners to get the word out about what they do.
“If it’s a home-based business, they can network at the same time,” she said. “They’re able to network and launch their business and so on.”
The whole concept came about, she added, because of the financial strains facing so many Central Florida schools, including in Lake County.
The School Board is so eager to save money that school officials are considering attaching cameras to school cafeteria trash cans, in an effort to see how much money gets wasted on uneaten vegetables and fruit. It’s been estimated the school system could save up to $75,000 by eliminating foods that students throw out.
With those kinds of budgetary pressures facing schools, Wooster said she wanted to start a vehicle to generate funding for the school district.
“I launched it last year because of economic distress,” she said. It worked, so Wooster decided to make it an annual event.
“As a matter of fact, I had five different people contact me because they had heard of the success of our event last year,” she said. “These are people who say, ‘It’s true I can do a garage sale out of my driveway,’ but once they realize the money is all going to go back to the children, they want to be a part of this.”
Wooster expects this second one to be bigger and better than last year.
“This year I have 40-odd parking spots to sell, and we’ve partnered with the Blood Mobile to be there, and we’ll also have a Zumbathon going on,” Wooster said. “We’ll have all these things going on, and then it all goes back to the school.”
To learn more, or to reserve a parking spot, call Wooster at 407-516-7891 or Tavares Middle at 352-343-4545.
“Don’t miss this opportunity to promote your business, sell your crafts, clean out your closets, see old friends and make new ones — not to mention supporting our students and PTO,” she said. “Together we can all make a difference.”
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@gmail.com.