Donor Of New Atlases Says Schools Shrugged Them Off

Susan Troller:

Don Becker finds it odd and annoying that in a time of dwindling resources and a beleaguered budget he’s had trouble giving money to Madison’s public schools.
It’s not that he hasn’t tried, and hasn’t been successful in the past, at providing help to a number of schools on items ranging from books to bus rides to practice shirts for girls’ athletic teams.
But when it came to signing a check for $2,500 last year to buy updated atlases for classrooms at Muir Elementary School, Becker’s money disappeared into a bureaucratic hole at the Doyle Administration Building for months on end. When he tried to follow up on what happened to his donation, he said he was given several different explanations for the delay in purchasing the books.
The bottom line was that when his wife went back this fall to volunteer in her favorite classroom, there was still no sign of the atlases.
Last week, in frustration, Becker called Rand-McNally, the publisher, and bought the atlases himself at what he says is a better price than the district had negotiated. Then he asked for his money back.
According to Becker, he was initially told by Steve Hartley, the district’s chief of staff, that although he would get his donation returned, the district would not provide its sales tax certificate number to Rand-McNally so that the $127 tax charged to Becker for the purchase of the atlases could be reimbursed.