Hundreds jammed downtown streets Saturday night for the "I Love Pleasanton Schools" carnival and fundraiser sponsored by downtown merchants, restaurants and the Pleasanton Downtown Association.
Clearly, a highlight of the street fair was the dunking tank set up in the Round Table Pizza parking lot where Pleasanton school Supt. John Casey, Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and a number of school principals found themselves repeatedly dunked as students, teachers and many others threw balls that often hit their target marker, dumping the volunteers into a water-filled tank.
Adding insult to injury, Mohr Elementary School Prinicipal Robin Sehrt looked out of the dunking cage to see her own daughter Kylie, 7, taking a sharp aim at the target, then a big splash as Sehrt fell into the water. Getting back up on the dunking seat, Sehrt then saw teachers doing the same, but all in good spirits to help the ILPS fundraiser.
During the 5-to-9 p.m. carnival, families walked Main Street and many of the side streets where booths were set up that offered face painting, balloon animals and puppet shows, plus many tables of food being sold by restaurants along the sidewalks. Teenagers found their fun at technology-related activities such as a "text-off" and video games.
Each game required tickets to play, with tickets on sale for $1 or $20 for unlimited play wristbands. Those were available at Clover Creek, Sincerely Yours Cards and Gifts, Towne Center Books, Savvy Seconds, Gourmet Works, Murphy's Paw, Your Stage Toys, Stork's Nest and Pans on Fire.
A number of merchants are also donating a portion of their profits made during the carnival to the ILPS campaign.
The effort was the last major fundraising campaign organized under the auspices of the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) and Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment (PSEE) foundations to salvage some of the educational programs cut by the school board because of state budget cuts for education and the failure of the Measure G parcel tax proposal in June.
The goal of the campaign, launched June 15, is $2.8 million, although only slightly more than $300,000 had been raised before Saturday night's carnival.
"Many of the merchants were open Saturday night and will donate a portion of their sales receipts to the campaign," said Melanie Sadek, owner of Murphy's Paw who also helped organize the street fair. "We'll collect all those donations as well as the receipts from the carnival ticket sales and the PPIE will report Monday how much it earned."
Money raised in the summer-long findraising effort, if the $2.8 million goal is reached, would continue the following programs for the 2009-10 year: class-size reduction at a 20 students to 1 teacher ratio, reading specialists and counselors, elementary strings and band programs.