BRUNSWICK SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT Paul Perzanoski shows off one of the shirts the district is selling to raise funds for summer programs.

BRUNSWICK SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT Paul Perzanoski shows off one of the shirts the district is selling to raise funds for summer programs.

BRUNSWICK

Superintendent Paul Perzanoski announced a new fundraiser recently to help keep kids engaged and learning over the summer break.

In a move to help combat lost learning over the summer — commonly referred to as the “summer slide,” Perzanoski is selling black T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts and sweatshirts with “support public education” emblazoned in orange on the front and back. Order forms are available through the district website as well as at the schools.

“Over the last eight years, because of budget difficulties, we’ve had to eliminate quite a few programs and it’s clear that there’s some gaps in the learning of some kids and we need to try to bring those back,” Perzanoski said.

A portion of each sale will

go toward summer school programs.

Currently, Brunswick budgets for summer programs for special education as those programs are required by state and federal law.

“We used to run what’s called a reading and math camp at the junior high school and that had to be eliminated by budget decreases probably about four years ago now. We’re hoping that the new money will actually save the taxpayers some expense and be able to provide some new — or bringing back old programs that are no longer in existence,” Perzanoski said.

Perzanoski said attempts have been made in the past to develop summer school programs at the elementary, junior high and high school levels. Without proper budgetary funding, those programs had to be paid for by attendees. The programs ended up being unsuccessful, Perzanoski said, because the kids who really needed to program couldn’t afford it.

Besides the summer slide, Perzanoski said Maine only requires 175 days a year for students — a number, he said, is among the lowest in the United States. Perzanoski said most states have 180 days or more to try to bridge the learning gap over the summer.

Summer school programs not only help preserve learning from the previous year, Perzanoski said they also provide constructive activities for kids to take part in over the summer break. Currently, Brunswick schools are heavily used for recreation programs over the summer. The school department works in conjunction with Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program to provide lunches during these times for kids who qualify for free or reduced lunches.

Perzanoski said summer school programs would mesh well with these programs.

The cost for a T-shirt is $10, long sleeves for $16 and hooded sweatshirts are $30.

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