I am a member of the Bethlehem Area School District's Board of Directors. We are currently the sixth largest school district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our district oversee 16 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 2 high schools (this does not include the Catholic, Privet, & Charter School). In total our district currently has just over 14,277 students within our district. Just over 400 of those students belong to Donegan Elementary School where their minority rate is 85% and their at or below poverty rate is 98.9%. Over the last few years due to budget cuts the schools across our district have take significant cuts to staffs and programs. No other school in my opinion has taken a greater hit then Donegan. Over the past two years they have seen a reduction in over 10 to 15 teachers, a Vice Principal, and Family Development Specialists (These specialists helped our most needy families). Donegan also use to provide many different after school programs for their students in order to keep their students off the streets after school and rather in an education environment. Today due to cuts many of those very programs not longer exist.
For the first time in the history of Donegan Elementary School during the 2009-2010 school year (in just her first year as Donegan's Principal Ms. Sonia Vazquez) was able to increase Donegan's standardized scores which for the first time made them reach AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). That year they went from one of the worst schools in not only our district, but also the state to being one of the top schools. However, last year due to budget cuts Donegan failed to make AYP.
This school, its staff, and most importantly it's students are suffering beyond belief and our district is in no position to make any chances to help Donegan. As a member of the minority community and a volunteer at Donegan I personally have taken on the task to put together a way to raise money to help the students and staff at Donegan once again succeed.
That is why I am righting to you. I am trying to put together a benefit concert to be held here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in which the money raised would go directly to the school and it's programs. However, in order to make this possible I am in the need of your help. We would like Mr. Brown to perform at our benefit concert to help the children.
Basilio A. Bonilla Jr
BASD School Board Director