Weilenmann fundraiser will turn back the clock
October 11, 2016
Cindy Phillips, executive director of the Weilenmann School of Discovery, doesn't downplay the importance of the school's annual fall fundraiser.
As a charter school, Weilenmann doesn't receive as much state funding as typical district schools, she said. But since the school pursues an ambitious curriculum, it is left with an annual funding gap of more than $300,000.
That's where parents of students and the Park City community come in. The school is set to hold its annual Time Bash fundraiser Nov. 12 at the St. Regis Deer Valley. Weilenmann is hoping to top the $99,000 raised at the event last year, which would represent a significant chunk of the school's budget.
"When you have a vision that includes master teachers and specialists in subjects, and when you have an ambitious technology initiative, it really isn't funded by the money we get from the state," Phillips said. "So we depend on the money raised from this fundraiser."
This year, the school is under even more pressure than normal to ensure the fundraiser is successful. Phillips said enrollment is nearing capacity, forcing school leaders to consider expanding one of the school's wings. The scope of such a project, which could begin as early as next year, would be similar in scope to a recent renovation that built the library and two music rooms.
It's only possible, however, if the school can build up its budget reserves through fundraising.
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"We aren't able to do that unless we meet that goal, because we cannot operate at a deficit, for one thing, and we can't plan things like that unless we have really good financial health," Phillips said.
The Time Bash, whose theme is the year 1924, will feature cocktails and dinner and will allow patrons to bid on donated items through silent and live auctions. In past years, most attendees have been family members of students. But Heidi Davidson, the school's development director and organizer of the Time Bash, said she is hopeful even Parkites who don't have children at the school will come to see the fundraiser as an opportunity to support public education.
Organizations such as the Park City Education Foundation don't provide Weilenmann with funding, she said, so any backing Park City residents give the school is important.
"We would love for it to be a community event," she said, adding that several business in Park City have contributed items for the auctions. "It's an open invitation to anybody in the community."
Davidson said the Time Bash is something attendees mark down on their calendars each year. Last year's theme was the year 1986, so organizers wanted to do something completely different this time.
"I loved 1986, but it was kind of a cheesy era," she said. "We wanted to go with something, I think, a little classier, so the 1920s seemed like a great idea."
Attendees are encouraged to don regalia of the era, such as flapper dresses and three-piece suits, and will spend the night doing the Charleston to upbeat jazz tunes. Phillips said there's no better way to celebrate the Roaring '20s in style.
"A lot of our people like to have fun with this," she said. "They dress up and make it a great party. Besides the fact that this is a fundraiser, this is a really good unifying event for our communities to come together and have a really good time."
Tickets to the Time Bash are available on the school's website, wsdpc.org, for $95 but space is limited. The school is also seeking donations for auction items and volunteers to staff the event.
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