By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Shelter Fundraiser Draws Generous Crowd
IMG 1860
Melissa Tozzi makes a bid on an item at the silent auction table Thursday, Oct. 8 at the Shelter Pet Alliance fundraiser held at the home of former District 1 Supervisor Pat Paul. The group is hoping to raise $75,000 to build an exercise yard at the animal shelter. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader

Former Stanislaus County Supervisor Pat Paul opened her Oakdale home to a worthy cause Thursday, Oct. 8 as citizens joined together for the Shelter Pet Alliance fundraiser aimed at gathering donations toward the creation of an exercise yard for the local animal shelter.

There were cupcakes shaped like kitties and pooches, plenty of delicious food catered by Jonathan’s at the Almond Pavilion and lots of goodies donated for the silent auction as people came together to help do their part to see a goal realized.

“Where else do you have unconditional love,” Paul said of animals. “No matter what kind of day you’re having, they’re there to love you.”

And right now, the shelter animals are crowded into kennels too small with no room to move around, much less exercise. If the group, spearheaded by shelter volunteers Ann Goforth and Betsie Corwin, manages to raise the $75,000 they’re shooting for, the shelter animals will get a state-of-the-art, 48-foot-by-100-foot exercise yard where they can stretch their legs, play and socialize with their prospective new families.

“It will create a lovely atmosphere and offer the animals a better chance to find a home because they won’t be depressed,” Paul said.

In addition, plans to add a kitty condo are in the works.

“Right now we have 30 cats to a cage when they’re only equipped to hold eight. It’s just so sad.”

According to Corwin, Phase I of the project entails the fencing, grading and pouring of the concrete pad. Local contractor Tim Pitassi is donating time and labor to do much of the work in Phase I. While fundraising on the whole for many nonprofits has been down, Corwin said they are happily accepting in-kind work in lieu of actual cash.

“We have some people who are donating their time and materials to the project,” Corwin said. “More and more people are coming forward wanting to donate. It’s so wonderful. In spite of the tough times, people have been extraordinarily generous.”

Goforth agreed, gushing, “We’re so excited we can hardly stand it.”

Each week, Goforth and Corwin deliver 92 posters around town to local businesses featuring adoptable pets at the shelter. Their passion has become contagious, inspiring others to lend a hand to the cause. The Oakdale Pet Shelter recently donated over $1,000 to the project simply by collecting small donations from their customers. A duo of 11-year-old girls put up a lemonade stand and happily contributed their earnings — $50 — to the cause.

Anyone wishing to donate to this cause may do so by going to their website at


sp3/>7``ass=MsoNormal style='text-align:justify'>In reports, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Barbara Shook presented the district’s 2009 accountability report. Superintendent Rich stated that the district has made “significant” progress over the last several years and that Oakdale is the highest performing unified school district in the county.


Shook’s report provided details on the district’s overall Academic Performance Index (API) score of 788+13, which is the best in the county. Each Oakdale elementary school improved their API scores and all hold an API score of more than 800, the “gold” standard for schools. Oakdale High School has moved up the ladder by one spot into second in the county for API scores with 776. The junior high school API is up and is also at 776.

Her report also showed Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) numbers and rankings and at the different grade levels for proficiency in math, English language arts (ELA), science, history, and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). In most categories, Oakdale scored higher than the county and state comparison levels, and in math and ELA most Oakdale students are at or above proficiency.

Shook also reported that the number of the district’s socioeconomically disadvantaged students grew by 200 and was a sign of the times.

She also reported that the graduation rate for the high school is 97.5 percent, with the overall rate at 90.9 percent for the district. Overall, Shook said she was very pleased with the numbers.

Also in reports, OHS Principal Mike Moore provided a detailed presentation on the high school’s ASB athletic budget. His report showed that total income for all OHS athletic events for the 2008-09 school year was $83,426, while total athletic expenses were $74,734.

The report provided details on gate receipts on each sport, broken down by each opponent, as well as each sport’s annual budget. Most budgets were equal to or less than they were in the 2000-01 school year.

His report also detailed expenses for ambulance attendance, CIF state dues and league dues, security, cashiers/ticket takers, and game officials, and more. Officials cost the high school $26,934 annually and Moore said that officials want raises while every school is having to cut budgets.

Moore stated that the district is beginning to charge for entry to watch most of the school’s sports, many of which used to be free to watch. He said that the expenses continue to increase each year and that they have no other choice but to implement the charges to fans to watch the sports.

In total, $279,500 comes out of the district’s general fund to cover athletics. That is $75,000 less than was budgeted last year — that money was trimmed from the athletic transportation budget. The transportation budget alone is $156,773. Athletes are now charged fees to travel but the Oakdale Sports Boosters has raised money to offer a scholarship program to cover the transport fees for athletes that can’t cover the costs. Along with transportation, the district’s athletic budget also includes coach stipends, equipment certifications and reconditioning, and more.

The next regular meeting of the OJUSD Board of Trustees will be on Monday, Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 No. Second.