Gone are the days of a simple sausage sizzle fundraiser keeping school projects ticking along, with a number of Tauranga schools now turning to big plans to raise their much-needed funds. Big projects taking months of planning and raking in big money for the schools are becoming the new norm. Bay of Plenty Times education reporter Caroline Fleming spoke to some local schools to see the hard work that went behind some of these big fundraising projects.
From professional cookbooks, lawn-mower racing and even selling a highly-valued property, some Tauranga schools are pulling out all the stops to raise much-needed funds for school projects.
Western Bay of Plenty Principals Association president and Tahatai Coast School principal Matt Skilton said schools needed a point of difference when it came to fundraisers, meaning they often had to be bigger and more creative.
This was because the current school decile system encouraged schools to raise funds from the community they were in, however many parents in high socio-economic suburbs were paying off things like large mortgages, he said.
So nowadays, schools were doing a smaller amount of bigger events that raised large sums of money as opposed to small ones so there was less pressure on parents. They also relied on business sponsorship for these events, said Skilton.
Tauranga's Matua Primary School spent months creating a fundraising cookbook filled with pages of treasured family recipes, professional photos, and even tips from local chefs, printing more than a thousand copies to sell.
Local mother and member of the school's PTA Sarah Harvey said she put the word out to the community to send in their beloved recipes to feature in the book last year. With the help of two graphic-designing mothers from the school Michelle Russell and Teresa McClean, the book was turned into a professional piece of work.
Since the book was released in December, the school had sold more than 700 copies and a local book shop had even asked to stock it.
All the money raised was going towards resurfacing of the popular school pool.
Principal Craig Wallis said fundraisers like this "allow the school to provide a level of education they couldn't normally do", as they funded things such as school camps, playgrounds and activities.
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But Matua Primary School was not alone in going the extra mile in fundraising efforts.
Aquinas College only last year profited more than $200,000 after a Pyes Pa home built as a fundraiser for the school, sold for more than $800,000.
Aquinas College principal Matt Dalton previously told the Bay of Plenty Times that the funds would go towards three areas at the school.
Eighty per cent went towards a multi-purpose facility with a focus on performing arts, 10 per cent would be distributed to families struggling to meet school costs, and the final 10 per cent would be spent at the principal's discretion to support immediate projects for the college.
Omokoroa No.1 School holds its annual Lawn Mower Racing Gala to simply "keep their heads above the water", said principal Craig Pentecost.
He said the major fundraising event was crucial in funding learning assistance in the classrooms and projects that the school budget could not cover.
The event took more than seven months to plan each year and last year the event smashed records and raised more than $50,000.
Deputy secretary sector enablement and support from the Ministry of Education Katrina Casey said the use of the operational funding received from the government was at the school's discretion and the board of trustees were responsible for financial management.
She said as schools were self-governing, it was their choice whether they fundraised and what they fundraised for.
The ministry only provided recommendations and rules on how fundraising practices were carried out, she said.
The Matua Primary School cookbook is available on the school's website or pop into the school office on Levers Rd.