PTA seeks computers

Sonora Elementary School's PTA hopes to raise $20,000 for new classroom computers at today's annual Cinco de Mayo fundraiser. The last two years, the PTA used the festival to garner funds for new playground equipment, which the district finally installed last summer. This year, parents want to upgrade the school's computers by purchasing 20 new systems for classrooms.

Mette Segerblom, Sonora's PTA president, and fellow parent Katrina Foley, the Cinco de Mayo coordinator and a Costa Mesa city councilwoman, said state-of-the-art computers are essential in part because of Accelerated Reader, an electronic program that enhances reading skills.

"We have a variety" of computers, Foley said. "That's part of the problem, that we have some computers that are relatively new, some very old. Oftentimes, the program they use for Accelerated Reader, the computer can't really handle it, so it shuts down. It becomes really frustrating for the kids."

The Cinco de Mayo festival takes place on Sonora's blacktop today at 4:30 p.m. ? next to the playground equipment the last two events helped to purchase. The event is free to the public, but a silent auction, food booths and an opportunity drawing are expected to bring in funds.

Among the items to be auctioned are tickets for Los Angeles Dodgers games, golf rounds at the Mesa Verde Country Club, UCLA garments, dinners at the Newport Rib Co. and a "date night package" containing 12 certificates for Costa Mesa restaurants.

The three-and-a-half-hour event will include live salsa music, games and prizes. Segerblom said the PTA will order the computer equipment as soon as the funds are available.

"We have a whole spreadsheet of what we want," she said. "The minute we find the funding, it will be easy."

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