Education

Target’s new program will miss schools, and Belleville schools will miss the retailer’s money

Shoppers enter and exit the Target store in Belleville.
Shoppers enter and exit the Target store in Belleville. znizami@bnd.com

Nearly $55,000 will be coming to 93 metro-east schools in February, but then Target turns that tap off.

Target has offered Take Charge of Education since 1997, sending a portion of the money spent by Target Red Card holders to the schools those cardholders designate. Target says the program has paid out $387 million. The company is going to move toward a community-based wellness program, according to its website.

Schools and cardholders who had designated schools to receive a percentage of their spending were notified last fall. Target representatives did not return calls seeking comment. The retailer put no limit on what the money could be used for.

“It’s one of several,” types of fundraisers, says Mark Schmitz, a first-year Parent Teacher Organization president. His school — Signal Hill Elementary in Belleville — will get more than $1,050 at the February payout according to Target; he said that was a large amount of money for the organization.

“One thousand dollars to a PTO would be a significant amount ... our budget is somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $12,000,” he said.

Box Tops for Education, a General Mills sponsored fundraiser, brought in almost $600 last year, Schmitz said. According to the Box Tops website, the school earned $215.50 in the latest distribution in December.

Schmitz said the PTO uses the money to fund several events during the year, all meant to foster better relations among parents, teachers and children.

“It’s not like we’re buying Smartboards,” he said. “We’re bringing people together.”

We’re gonna miss it, but we can’t really do anything about it.

Nicole Bunting, PTO president at Blessed Sacrament School

Other schools put the money from shopping incentive programs into general expense budgets.

Ryan Boike, assistant superintendent at Belleville District 118, said it varies between schools. He said the Target money goes toward things like reward programs and after school programs.

“Some schools it will have a greater impact than others, because they don’t have as much success fundraising,” Boike said.

District 118’s Roosevelt Elementary is set to receive the most of all the district’s schools, at more than $700 in February, but Boike was pleased to hear about Franklin Elementary getting more than $280 in February.

“It’s a great deal” for Franklin, he said.

Belleville’s high school district allows the principals’ discretion in disbursing the funds, according to Brian Mentzer, assistant superintendent of Belleville District 201. He said principals use that money for rewards and resources “where there may not be resources otherwise.”

“It’s all designed to go back to kids’ classrooms,” he said. “Not a principal’s slush fund.”

He said the district’s two schools — Belleville East and Belleville West — have used the money to support professional development and student incentive programs. Mentzer said the district also includes Box Tops for Education money and donations to the district in that account for the principals.

“This has been a stable funding source for that (fund), so I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it’s money we certainly appreciate,” he said.

Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville puts money from all revenue sources into its general budget, said Susan Moreford, the school’s business manager.

“With us being a Catholic school, (any donations) basically offsets the cost of tuition for our families,” she said.

Moreford said Althoff “really didn’t get that much from them (Target),” but the school would continue to look for other donors as it normally does.

Box Tops for Education, eScript through Schnucks and money from Farmer’s Market in Belleville are other ways schools get money.

“The nice thing about Target was people didn’t have to turn anything in, it was automatic,” said Nicole Bunting, PTO president at Blessed Sacrament School in Belleville.

She said the school also uses Box Tops and will be looking at Coke points.

“It gets pooled a little differently just because we fund so much more ... than a public school does,” Bunting said, such as curriculum and building maintenance.

“We’re gonna miss it, but we can’t really do anything about it,” Bunting said.

Money from Target

The national discount retailer says it has given more than $32 million to schools in its last payout; this is the last year for the program. According to the site, these are currently participating area schools in the program that will receive the most money in the metro-east in February, the money that was donated from Target in February 2015, and the amount accumulated toward the next donation. Schools with asterisks have received more than $10,000 from Target during the program, according to the retailer.

School

Number of cardholders contributing

Money donated in February 2015

Amount accumulated toward next donation

Mascoutah Elementary *

95

$1,243.26

$2,507.27

Freeburg Elementary*

106

$1,075.02

$2,377.66

Our Lady Queen of Peace*

74

$858.70

$1,756.96

Millstadt Elementary School*

104

$773.76

$1,741.09

Edwardsville high*

124

$726.98

$1,604.49

Althoff Catholic High*

80

$767.59

$1,547.35

Blessed Sacrament*

61

$677.78

$1,504.62

St. Teresa Elementary

52

$691.43

$1,435.86

St. John Baptist

54

$750.92

$1,380.31

Millstadt Primary Center

41

$559.19

$1,215.42

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