ARLINGTON — Time was, parents would hold bake sales or sell refreshments at school football games to raise money for local schools. But with public schools under financial duress, private fund-raising groups are launching far more ambitious campaigns.
It’s not uncommon now to auction off big-ticket items at fancy galas and send out massive direct-mail appeals. And the money raised, traditionally earmarked for extra items outside the school budget, is increasingly put toward the basics — such as staff salaries.
“If you’re not going to have librarians, you’re not going to raise money for books,’’ said Marie Meteer, a lead organizer of a $1 million drive in Arlington seeking to avert heavy staff layoffs.