Friday, April 19, 2002
Pig 'n Pepper is over. What now?
Yes, it is official.... the Pig 'n Pepper is over. For those of you who don't know, the Pig 'n Pepper barbeque festival has been the major annual fundraising event for the Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF) for the past eleven years, shared with a non-profit technology group in Westford.
What is the CEF? The CEF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the education of Carlisle's children by funding programs (often technological initiatives) that are typically beyond the scope of the annual school budget.
It was started back in 1990 when the town voted against an override that resulted in the Carlisle School's library closing. Sound familiar? The difference this time around is that the library may be closed even with an override and, based on past experience, even with funding and a lot of people's enthusiasm, it takes a long time to recover from those kinds of shortfalls.
Back to the Pig 'n Pepper many of you have volunteered over the years so this is repetitive. For those who haven't, the end of the Pig 'n Pepper is a momentous occasion for many reasons. It was a wonderful tradition where there was a sense of camaraderie, coupled with foot-stomping music and great barbeque. Not to mention that it was created for the best of reasons and brought so much to the Carlisle School; it reopened the library, as well as funded the full-day kindergarten initiative.
But, last year's festival was the least profitable one for both towns, netting approximately $15,000 for each town's schools. Unfortunately, the same number of volunteers committed themselves, many of them Carlisle School teachers and administrators. Maybe it was the weather; maybe it was the advent of the bombing of Afghanistan on Sunday; maybe, simply, its time had come. (The silver lining is that hundreds of people will have their Columbus Day weekend back again.)
Now, more than ever, we need to remember or learn why all of these people committed themselves each year to raising money for the CEF. Recently, the town has been agonizing over how much of an override to support for next year. An important difference is that the override didn't pass eleven years ago; if it does this year, is there still a need for CEF since the schools will be barely able to maintain the status quo even with it, much less fund new initiatives which often require new technologies and seed money. We owe our children an environment where their teachers and administrators can stay abreast of new ideas and "best practices."
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito