On Jan. 12, 2010, Superintendent Ronald Holmes issued a letter to parents and members of the Tallahassee community stating that the Florida A&M Developmental Research School is in need of $175,000 by March 31, 2010.
According to the Florida Department of Education, the school has already been allocated the standard funds for the 2009-2010 school year. Much of the funds were used to construct the building and invest in amenities.
The letter states that since moving into the new building the cost of running the facility has increased. Bills for utilities, telephone, postage and copiers are estimated to be 41.8 percent higher than last year. Miscellaneous things such as lawn services, security and administrative fees are projected to be 100 percent higher. Event though FAMU DRS has a new gym, cafeteria, TV production room, laptop computers and classroom observation stations, no one would think they need such funding and so quickly.
Although the building has a lot to offer, the amenities come at a price. The $30.6 million building with wireless Internet provides its students with many luxuries that were not in the old facility.
Parents and students both agree that the building is an exciting addition to the school’s long history.
“It’s more spacious.The facility, and the technology; the students seem to really like it,” says Wayne Salters, parent of a DRS student.
The 116,500 square-foot building was needed to accommodate the many students enrolled in grades K-12. Keeping the facility running after a budget cut of almost $51,000 has proven to be difficult.
Although each student attending FAMU DRS pays an activities fee of $250.00 each school year, these funds are used to provide recognition programs such as Student of the Month and Honor Roll. The activities fees do not play a significant part in the overall maintenance of the school.
Holmes is asking for 175 friends and supporters of DRS to pledge to give $1,000 to support the school budget. Holmes stated six people have made the pledge since the letter went out and he is confident that people will see the genuine need of the school and continue to donate.
DRS has been a part of the Tallahassee community for many years. Holmes is hoping to draw in the alumni who have always been reliable and supportive in numerous ways.
Although Holmes is remaining positive about the issue, parents of DRS students feel obtaining these funds may be difficult.
“If everyone pitches in and helps it could be a reachable goal,” said Cassandra Leland whose child has been attending FAMU DRS since kindergarten, “she didn’t want to go anywhere else. She wanted to stay at FAMU High. I feel that if he [Homes] gets all the support from the parents and friends of DRS then it can be a reachable goal. I thought that there would be more support because it was a new school.”
Leland also said if Holmes can get more people to take an active interest in DRS activities, such as athletics, he could gain more support.
If interested in donating to FAMU DRS call 850-412-5930 or email Superintendent Ronald Holmes at Ronald.Holmes@famu.edu.