Early next year, Green Lake School leaders hope to ratchet up their advertising to counteract the district’s severely declining enrollment, with even radio or TV ads possible.

But this time, the plan isn’t to use tax dollars.

To fund the initiative, an independent campaign is asking hundreds of Green Lake-area residents for financial donations to support the cause.

A mass mailing has been sent to around 2,500 residents in the Green Lake area, written by Michael and Patricia White of Sandstone Avenue. The Whites moved here three years ago from the Chicago area after visiting for 20 years.

They have three children in Green Lake School, but are concerned about the dropping enrollment and the future of the district and community.

“We have seen, honestly, the decline in the town,” Mike said of the past 20 years.

And since the school and community are so closely intertwined, he worries about the future. The Whites fervently support the school and its programs, but are concerned about the shrinking student count.

“Green Lake does have a lot of support as a school,” Mike said.

That’s what prompted the couple to put ink on paper.

Although the letter says it was sent to 700 residents, the final number was actually about 2,500 after more address lists were obtained. International Business Cards Inc. donated the printing.

“Just about everything except the postage became free,” Mike said.

The crisp, dual-sided letter passionately calls on residents for action.

“As I am sure you will agree, the vitality of our very community is dependent on attracting young families,” it reads. “The gradual erosion of our local school enrollment is now at a tipping point.”

The letter goes on to request tax-deductible contributions for the “Green Lake School Revitalization Effort” — with 100 percent of donations going toward “enrollment advertising of Green Lake Schools beginning in January 2010.” Read the full story in the Dec. 17, 2009, issue of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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