The Rosemont Elementary School upper campus. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Rosemont Early Childhood PTA members voted Thursday to deny grants for Oak Cliff elementary schools besides Rosemont.

The question of whether to dole out cash to other elementary schools in our neighborhood came up earlier this year and caused a rift among members of the group, which is 92 years old.

The group raises about $30,000 a year through its annual auction and party. Members previously voted in favor of inviting other Oak Cliff elementary schools to apply for grants from that stash.

But then a faction of members and alumnae came together in opposition, intent on spending the funds only on Rosemont, even though more than a quarter of RECPTA’s members are zoned to other schools.

Alumnae members intent on keeping the money at Rosemont recruited new members and encouraged RECPTA alumnae to pay dues and rejoin prior to the vote. Twenty new members paid dues Thursday, the day of the vote. By the time of the vote, RECPTA had its highest membership total ever, with 344 members, says outgoing president Emily Ruth Cannon.

There were 121 votes from members who attended the meeting. Here’s how it shook out:

A crowd-funding campaign was created in an effort to raise the funds the losing schools had requested. It has raised more than $11,000 in four hours.

The rejected grant requests include:

  • an after-school program for tutoring, clubs and mentor support for Felix G. Botello Elementary,
  • field trip costs, guest-speaker fees, maker-space equipment and $480 to help the parents of deaf students learn sign language at Hogg Elementary,
  • a complete set of “A Wrinkle in Time” trilogy for Reagan Elementary fifth graders,
  • $5,000 to fund a soccer program called “Soccer Stem” that helps students with science, technology and math learning at Lida Hooe Elementary.

A newsletter RECPTA sent out regarding the vote states:

It was great to see so many new members last night! RECPTA is a volunteer organization, and we depend on each other to make this organization operate. For all our new members, we encourage you to get involved; take a sunshine meal, host a playgroup, come to meetings and/or serve on a committee!

We hear that some RECPTA members want to start a separate group to raise money for other elementary schools. We will keep you updated on that.