Schools getting extra money

By Trina Trice

Four Clayton County schools are getting some needed extra cash thanks to Cash Back for Schools.

Southlake Mall's Cash Back for Schools has given several schools in Clayton and Henry counties awards that total $25,000.

"The Cash Back for Schools program is a wonderful opportunity for the school and the community to work together in a collaborative manner," said Kay Sledge, principal of Jonesboro Middle School. "Everybody wins. We have been involved in this program for four years, and each year it has gotten better."

During the 2002-2003 school year, supporters of 27 area schools earned points by shopping at Southlake Mall and turning in the receipts. Students also turned in grade reports and school communities attended special mall events and supported service projects.

Schools that acquire the most points win the most money.

Arnold Elementary School and Jonesboro Middle School won $7,000 each for first place in the elementary and middle school categories, respectively.

Also winning were Cotton Indian Elementary School and Eagle's Landing Middle School with $3,500 for second place and McGarrah Elementary School and Morrow Middle School with $2,000 for third place.

Judy Carter, information technology specialist for Arnold Elementary School, says the Cash Back program gets parents, students, and teachers involved in education.

The money the school received will be distributed equally amongst teachers who can purchase extra supplies for their classrooms.

"We let the teachers decide (what they'll purchase), but it is to be used for materials with the children," Carter said.

Last year, Arnold Elementary School used the funds it received from Cash Back to have a mural painted.

Cotton Indian Elementary School is using its money to help fund the construction of a new playground, said Theresa Hollowell, a representative from the school.

Several local schools won smaller cash prizes: Mt. Zion, Unity Grove, Morrow, Harper, Suder and East Clayton elementary schools and Roberts and Union Grove middle schools.

The Cash Back program begins again in August and runs through December. A category for high school clubs is being added.

For more information, call Southlake Mall at (770) 961-1050.