By Maria Wyllie
Explore Big Sky Associate Editor

BIG SKY – The 35th annual Pie Auction, put on by the Big Sky School District’s Parent Teacher Organization, took place March 21 at Buck’s T -4 and raised nearly $100,000. It exceeded the PTO’s fundraising goal of $75,000 and was the second most successful Pie Auction in the event’s history.

Approximately 140 people placed bids last year, while this year had more than 200 bidders.

As of March 31, the total tally for the 2015 event was a net income of almost $97, 000. The Pie Auction saw a 36 percent increase over last year’s gross income and a 52 percent increase in net proceeds.

“We’re especially proud of this since it reflects our board’s commitment to controlling expenses,” said BSPTO President Sandi Cunningham in an email.

The BSPTO is a nonprofit group with a mission of providing enrichment, supplements and special programs to the students and staff of the Big Sky School District. Funds raised from the Pie Auction are used to finance existing programs like the After School Program, field trips, ski days, sports, and the eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C., among others.

The use of any additional funds will be determined by the BSPTO Board. Cunningham says they’ve already had a few requests, such as purchasing a new stage for graduation. In addition, the BSPTO is putting a reserve program in place so that money is set aside every year in case they don’t meet their fundraising goals.

This year’s Pie Auction included a record number of sponsors, and set records in raffle ticket sales and income from the live and silent auctions.

Cunningham said she’s pleased the BSPTO was able to achieve its goal in creating an inclusive event that attracted not only locals, but also visitors to Big Sky.

“I have an inherent respect for a community that can come together and support something like this,” said Cunningham, who moved to Big Sky last summer. “In the end, we all benefit.”