School, real estate firm are partners

March 28, 1995|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

The idea came to Bill Connor in a dream.

A real estate broker would give $300 to Millersville Elementary School for every tip the school gave that resulted in the sale of a home.

Mr. Connor doesn't have to dream about such things anymore. Last week, 5% Realty Co. agreed to try his idea.

"When it comes to raising money, I'm pretty good at dreaming up ideas," said Mr. Connor, a member of the school PTA's computer committee. "This one looked good to me. It's in both sides' interest."

Money raised through the partnership will be used to help buy 32 IBM-compatible computers, expected to cost about $40,000. The PTA hopes to have the computers by the time the school's new computer laboratory is finished next year.

The school already raised $10,000 through a movie night and pizza and candy sales, Mr. Connor said. He believes the partnership with 5% Realty could be one of the most successful fund-raisers, perhaps bringing in $3,000.

Jim Breeden, the broker for 5% Realty Co., said he agreed to help Millersville Elementary because he wants another turn at helping the public. Mr. Breeden, 48, has been a substitute teacher and police officer in Anne Arundel County.

"I think this is a real good opportunity to make an impact on education," said Mr. Breeden, whose firm has offices in Odenton and Linthicum. "I think the kids deserve the best equipment they can get."

The $300 payments Millersville Elementary receives will come from the commission on sales. The school will get credit for referring a buyer or seller to the company.

Mr. Breeden said he's not sure how much money he'll be giving away, but he'll continue the program until the PTA tells him to stop.

PTA officials say fliers explaining the fund-raiser are being printed and will be given to Millersville's 444 students to take home.

The school has 11 Apple IIe and GS computers donated or received through the Giant Food program in which receipts are collected and exchanged for computers, said James Preston, Millersville Elementary's principal. Those computers are 5 years old.

The student-to-computer ratio at Millersville Elementary is 40-to-1, far below the county average of 20-to-1, Mr. Preston said.

The county school system is building a $78,000 computer laboratory for the school. Last September, the 300-member PTA decided to pay for the computers so the lab could open next year, PTA president Michael Berkey said. If the county paid for the computers, the lab would not open for another three to four years, Mr. Berkey said.

PTA officials hope 5% Realty will encourage other businesses to create similar fund-raising partnerships with the school.

"We're hoping that's the beginning, and we can get more corporate sponsors," Mr. Berkey said. "We're hoping they get transactions, and we get a cut. Any kind of sponsorship that can help them and can help us."

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