The Monroe Elementary School PTA will be hosting its annual silent and live auction from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 16 in the auditorium at the school, 431 Flora Vista Drive in Santa Barbara.

Different from auctions it has sponsored in the past, this year the auction will be family-friendly and free.

“This is a totally unique event this year,” said Rechelle Ringer, vice president of programs. “We will have a Kid Zone with great entertainment. There is something for the whole family.”

For the second consecutive year, California has allowed local schools to shorten the academic calendar by five days. Despite direct criticism from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, California has cut budgets for programs K-12. Local school districts, including Santa Barbara, have lost billions of dollars in funding, affecting areas such as art and foreign language education.

With such drastic cuts, parent-teacher associations find themselves stepping in to fill the gaps. The Monroe Elementary PTA sponsors programs in art, science, physical education and computer science. It also finances school assemblies and field trips.

“All proceeds will benefit Monroe PTA-sponsored programs,” PTA President Cricket Wood said. “We are bringing the auction back on campus in order to involve and include our whole community.”

Local businesses and families have donated generously to offer great deals on a number of items and services.

“Everyone is invited to ‘The Big Event’ to help support a well-rounded education for Monroe students,” Wood said.

For more information, click here or call 805.966.7023.

— Angela Magness for the Monroe Elementary School PTA.