According to a new report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal advocacy group, schools that serve just one-tenth of 1 percent of American students collect 10 percent of the estimated $425 million that PTAs raise nationwide each year.Addressing inequities:
The district written about in the Times is the tony/not-so-tony Malibu/Santa Monica district.Leaders at several overachieving PTAs also said their generosity addressed another kind of inequality: Their schools did not benefit from Title I, the federal taxpayer-funded program for schools that serve large numbers of poor children.But Catherine Brown, a co-author of the report, said that when richer PTAs paid for teachers and programs that poorer ones could not afford, students in less well-off schools fell even further behind.
But there is poverty, too; of the 11 elementary schools in the 11,000-student district, four in Santa Monica, including Edison, qualify for Title I aid. Half of Edison’s students come from low-income families, and three-quarters are Hispanic.
Several years ago, the Santa Monica-Malibu school board came up with a solution: Pool most donations from across the district and distribute them equally to all the schools.What one school board member had to say - read it twice and tell us what you think:
The funding program is considered a national model, and has many enthusiastic supporters. But for some locals it is a sore point that has helped fuel a long-simmering secession movement in which Malibu — more solidly affluent than Santa Monica — would create its own district, allowing it to keep all of its donations in its own schools.
An ideal PTA system gives a parent “the opportunity to put your money where your heart is,” said Mr. Foster, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. “It has to be an emotional appeal, and it has to be for the benefit of the donor.”How it works there:
Parents can still donate to their own schools to cover expenses like campus beautification, technology and field trips. But those who wish to help pay for teachers’ salaries or school-day science and arts programs must now donate to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, which redistributes the money across schools.In 2011, they apparently had quite a loud school board meeting that included this topic. Here's the PowerPoint that makes for interesting reading.
Megan Histand, the PTA president at Franklin Elementary in Santa Monica, said that sharing parent donations across schools was “pragmatic,” since all the district’s students feed into two high schools, and that parents should want their children’s classmates to be academically and socially well prepared.
There also have a link to another area that we have discussed on this topic - Portland. From The Oregonian:
All Hands Raised, formerly known as the Portland Schools Foundation, has reported steady increases in donations through the years from its local foundations, which number 44. By comparison, parents raised $2.67 million through foundations in 2009-10.The Bad
After schools raise $10,000, All Hands Raised collects one-third of each local foundation’s donations. That money is then allocated through "equity grants" to schools with more needs, many of which don't have their own foundations. A total $1.25 million is expected to be transferred to 47 schools as a result of last year's fundraising, at least $20,000 per school.
Transparency about how the funding works has helped inspire more than double the amount of giving over recent years, Chapman said.
While school board members praised the fundraisers' success, one member said the amount of money underscores how reliant schools have become on private fundraising.My takeaway from reading the article and all the linked documents (except the study) is two-fold.
About 118 positions, including 76 teachers, were funded by foundation donations this year. That money is separate from Booster Clubs and Parent-Teacher Organizations, which also hold many fundraisers.
Board co-chairman Greg Belisle thanked community members for all their efforts, but said he hoped the dollars could go toward more “enrichment” in the future rather than making up for losses in state funding.
One, school districts really should not allow PTAs to fund positions except if they are after-school enrichment (like bringing in artists to teach).
Two, state legislature need to fully fund education. The kind of confusion and discord you see from shared PTA fundraising makes that abundantly clear and frankly, it's one more reason that state legislatures should feel some shame.
Parents should not be put in a position like this.