Mesa schools turn receipts into cash with mall program - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa schools turn receipts into cash with mall program

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Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014 4:17 pm

Mesa shoppers’ frequent trips to spend money at Superstition Springs Mall in 2013 helped several Mesa Public Schools make money in 2014.

The mall gave away more than $10,000 to 10 schools through the School Cents program, which raised points later redeemed for money for purchases made by family, teachers and others at the mall.

Sousa Elementary School was the big winner this year. It was awarded $2,200, and the nine other participating schools received between $350 and $1,500 from their involvement in the School Cents program.

The money Sousa won will go to buy prizes for the students around the time they take the AIMS test and to fund field trips.

“We don’t want (AIMS) to be scary and intimidating, which a test can be for kids,” Principal Elizabeth Mullavey said. “So we do a big skit, and it’s almost like a pep assembly … We really just want them to try and do their best.”

Students are entered into raffles for being on time during test days, doing well on the test or improving on their test scores from last year. In the smaller raffles, students can win foam airplanes, bouncy balls and puzzles.

For the bigger raffles, students can win $50 gift cards, iPads, skateboards, art kits or similar items.

“Being part of this program helps us do these things and helps the kids,” Mullavey said. “It’s a win-win. The parents get excited, the students get excited, and the teachers get excited.”

The School Cents program allows shoppers to show receipts to the mall’s information desk to get five points for each dollar they spend there. Superstition Springs Mall has participated in the program since 2011 and has worked with 10 schools in Mesa. The mall has given $28,800 away since the program started.

“Everyone is a winner. Every school that participates receives anywhere from $250 to 3,000 dollars,” Senior Manager for Superstition Springs Melissa Buxton said. “Our schools need support in a lot of ways. They need volunteers, money and resources.”

Sousa also tries to make it easy for parents to participate in the program by offering to turn in their receipts to the mall as well.

“It doesn’t work unless you have parent support and school support,” Mullavey said. “It’s a joint effort.”

Mullavey said the School Cents program has really helped her school and her students by funding certain programs.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity that the mall has given us,” she said. “Every school that has a chance to participate should take advantage of it.”

• Shelby Slade is a sophomore at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is an intern with the Tribune this semester. Reach her at tribintern@evtrib.com.

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