By Jess Macinko
News Editor 

Teacher secures funds for recess equipment


Goldendale Primary School teacher Brad Fahlenkamp raised just under $1,000 for recess equipment. Fahlenkamp, who teaches physical education, says the school has been running out of playground toys.

“You have to be the first kid at recess to get a good playground ball.” It’s a problem he’s noticed for the past three years.

On Nov . 16 last year, he submitted a grant proposal to, a fundraising nonprofit geared specifically toward public schools. Fahlenkamp had never used the service before but decided to try it after hearing about it from coworkers.

Exactly two months later, his project was fully funded to the tune of $993.67. $677.44 of that money went toward equipment, mostly balls: basketball, soccer balls, footballs, volleyballs and “playground” balls (other items included jump ropes and an electric air pump). The remaining $316.23 went toward shipping, sales tax, processing fees, “fulfilment labor and materials,” and a $149.05 suggested donation to Donors Choose.

Other Goldendale residents who have used Donors

Choose expressed dissatisfaction, citing high overhead fees. But Fahlenkamp has a different take. “Sometimes, humongous companies like Google come along and fund everything on Donors Choose.” Given that possibility, he feels the price is right.

But Google didn’t come along this time. Instead, Fahlenkamp estimates, one third of his project was funded by alumni of Goldendale schools, the rest by members of his own family.

Which prompts the question, why does a teacher rely on his family to fund the equipment his students need? Fahlenkamp says it’s a matter of perception. “I wanted my kids to have more. Maybe a typical person would’ve thought they had enough.”

Mark Heid, Goldendale School District superintendent, said he was unaware of the fundraiser but aware of the need. “We always need more balls. We replace the ones that get worn out, but there’s a bad case of not getting balls back in the cage.” Heid said balls that are left on the playground overnight are frequently gone the next morning. He estimates GPS loses more than half its balls this way.

For his part, Fahlenkamp is “very happy” with the fundraiser. Given a four- to six-week shipping estimate, he expects the new equipment to be here by March.


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