A successful PTSA auction is essential if we’re to fully fund our schools



As soon as I agreed to chair this year’s PTSA auction, I started thinking about the theme of the event. Why do I volunteer in our schools? Why do I want to help raise money for our school district?

For me the answer came back to my childhood. I had a great one. I want my kids to have great childhoods, too. But times have changed. And one of the things that has changed a lot in the last 30 years is our state’s investment in education.

The Washington state PTA tells us that we no longer “fully fund” public education in our state. Furthermore, the Washington Learns Commission predicts we face an annual $1.2 billion shortfall between what is needed and how much the state is funding.

This lack of funding was among the reasons our local PTSA began the auction a few years ago. Having the PTSA auction each year is not just about raising a little money or about buying some extras for our schools. It has become a way to fund our basic needs.

Hundreds of volunteers have worked each year to put on this event, and our proceeds have grown each year. Last year, we netted more than $90,000 for our public schools.

This year’s PTSA Auction is on May 3. The event will be held at K2 Commons, the old K2 Sports building. Our theme is “Memories of Tomorrow: Celebrating Childhood.” We are celebrating the auction in nostalgic style, saluting all of our fantastic memories and raising money to give our kids the same wonder in these important years. Our goal is to raise $120,000 that night. All of our costs for the auction are already covered.

We already have had tremendous support from the business community. Our sponsors include: “Presenting Sponsor” K2 Sports; “Executive Sponsors” Matthew and Rebecca Bergman, the Back Bay Inn and Pacific Research; “Angels” Vashon Thriftway, Puget Sound Energy, Mark and Laura Hansen, Ray and Edith Aspiri, John L. Scott and K2 Commons, and “Supporting Sponsors” Brown Insurance, Windermere, Susan Lofland/Realtor and Emma Amiad/Realtor.

We already have a number of very important guests joining us on May 3, including King County Councilman Dow Constantine and state Rep. Eileen Cody.

Another critical need is funding for teacher training and development. As the daughter of two public school teachers, I know how critical that continuing education is — for a teacher’s career, job satisfaction and professional growth. So we will “raise the paddle” that night to support teachers and raise money for education and training opportunities.

The value of every dollar spent on teacher training is magnified by the number of students that teacher reaches for years to come. Indeed, there is no better educational bargain than teacher development.

Beyond that, we will work closely with the school district to speak to where the need is greatest in its budget, whether it is desperately needed curriculum materials at any of our three public schools or other critical needs.

One of the most important things about a community is the quality of its public schools. I am grateful to have the teachers we do and grateful to have a chance to make a difference to them and to our kids.

— Lauri Hennessey is the mother of three children who attend Vashon’s public schools.

How to help

Go to www.vashonptsaauction.org for information about how to donate an item, or contact procurement chair Lee Ockinga at 370-0709.

Save the date: May 3. Tickets go on sale in April.