The district removed the costs of the annual fourth- and fifth-grade track meet from its budget this school year as part of a series of savings measures. The move came with the idea of raising private money to support the meet to keep it going into the indefinite future.

School board member Karl Dommershausen volunteered to find sponsors. He said he hopes to announce a major sponsor soon.

The sponsor will get its name on banners at Monterey Stadium, saying something like “The Fourth and Fifth Grade All-City Track Meet, presented by X,” Dommershausen said.

It’s the all-city meet because most of the city’s religious schools join the 12 public elementary schools at the event.

Also working on fundraising is a veteran phy ed teacher at Adams Elementary School, Carol Tyriver.

“It’s quite a tradition in Janesville, so we’re going do all we can to keep it running,” Tyriver said.

“I’m pretty optimistic right now that working with Carol and Karl, we’re pretty darn close to meeting the dollar amount” to run the meet next May, said Steve Sperry, the district’s human resources director,

The major sponsor will commit to three years, Dommershausen said, and then the sponsorship would be up for grabs. Other sponsors also can get their logos or names on the banner.

Everyone in the community can join in supporting the meet, and many who grew up here are likely to consider helping. The meet has been going since 1927, according to the district.

Those ribbons won for running, jumping and throwing are a big deal to the children, said Sperry, who recalls his own participation fondly.

Dommershausen said plans are to raise $3,500 to $5,000, depending on in-kind contributions. Any extra money will be held in a separate account to pay for succeeding years, he said.

District officials once estimated the cost of the meet at $13,000, but a recent review found it was much less, Sperry said.

Dommershausen said the budget didn’t have a separate line for the track meet. Expenses were paid out of the general fund as they came up.

One of the in-kind contributions received has come from Steve Van Galder of Van Galder Bus Co., who has found a cost-saving way to schedule buses that deliver the children to the stadium, Sperry said.

Busing is a major cost for the event. Another big expense is all those ribbons awarded to the thousands of participants, Sperry said.

The 2012 meet is scheduled for May 22 for fifth-graders and May 23 for fourth-graders.

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