Elementary principal fighting to fund his public school

Marc Gosselin, principal of Anna Lane Lingelbach Elementary near Philadelphia, inherited a budget that provided only 40 cents of support to each student.

Located on the edge of Philadelphia, Anna Lane Lingelbach Elementary school is one of the most underfunded schools in Pennsylvania.

When Marc Gosselin started as the Germantown school's principal in August 2014, he was shocked to learn his operating budget for the 2014-2015 academic year was less than 40 cents for each of its 400 students.

“It was a sobering reality that there’s nothing you can do with $160 to really drive change at this school.”
- Marc Gosselin

Gosselin, and the students of Lingelbach Elementary school, had been allotted $160 by the City of Philadelphia school system for the year.

"$160 ... that’s barely enough for groceries, let alone run a school," Gosselin said. “It was a sobering reality that there’s nothing you can do with $160 to really drive change at this school.”

During Gosselin's first days at the helm, the challenges for the school became quite apparent. Gosselin said there no paper, or money for postage, in order for him to write letters and introduce himself to the parents.

But in the months that have followed, Gosselin and his team have remained determined to improve the school's circumstances. Gosselin has reached out to the community and found third party funding and donations of paper and supplies.

"I really believe in public schools," Gosselin said. "I was a product of public schools. I felt it was my time to step up to the fight to save public schools."

During a late fall afternoon, the Lingelbach Elementary schoolyard was full of sounds of children playing during recess. Inside, Gosselin was sending emails and meeting with investors. Since August, he has raised more than $116,000 from outside grants and donations.

Gosselin referred to himself as the "head dreamer of the school," because he has goals for Lingelbach Elementary school, its students and the community that he is determined to see met.

"This is my fight, and I’m not backing down."

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