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CALABASAS : Fund-Raising Group for Schools Revived

The Las Virgenes Educational Foundation is being revived after an eight-year hiatus to raise money for computers, satellite links and other high-tech equipment to bring students into the information age.

“We are significantly behind our counterparts in other areas of the country, in terms of technology,” Supt. Albert (Bud) Marley said. “We have to go way beyond having computer labs to where youngsters are using the technology in the regular classroom.”

Adrian Stern, an unsuccessful candidate in the Las Virgenes school board race in November, has spearheaded revival of the foundation, which was established in 1982, but had fallen dormant by 1986.

In its latest incarnation, Stern said, the foundation will seek gifts and raise money solely for technological improvements approved by the district, rather than for various proposals by individual schools, which the original foundation considered.

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Stern, acting president of the foundation until officers are elected this fall, envisions classrooms equipped with large TV monitors with touch-responsive screens, spelling lessons on CD-ROM and students doing research on the information superhighway.

“When you put a child in front of a computer, there’s an excitement that gets in their eye,” Stern said. “You get lessons with dancing graphics and a voice that always says, ‘Great job,’ or ‘Let’s try again.’ The computer is very patient.”

The foundation will recruit board members from the teachers union, parents, administrators, the district board of trustees and the community, Stern said. The foundation’s first fund-raiser is scheduled Oct. 20. Money will be sought mostly from local businesses and corporations, rather than parents and current school supporters.

“We don’t want to take away any of the traditional support for individual schools: the moms and dads who have kids there,” Stern said. “We’ll go to the community and say, ‘This is a good investment in our future.’ ”

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