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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Seattle Council PTSA News (and there's a lot of it)

Want a job with the SCPTA interfacing with SPS staff?  Here you go.  (I would actually be swell at this job but they would never hire me.)

They need folks to represent most areas of the city.

Do you have an interest in issues that go beyond your local school and affect children throughout the district? If so, we need you! Transportation, capacity, family engagement and district policies are just a few areas that SCPTSA is currently working on. SCPTSA board members have a number of opportunities to serve on committees in the district, as well as meet with district officials and school board members. SCPTSA works with all local PTAs throughout Seattle, including outreach, education, training and troubleshooting.

We are looking for Area Directors for : NE, NW, SE, SW and Central Districts.

The board meets monthly at the John Stanford Center, or via conference call. Are you interested in helping, but are not sure what role is right for you? Contact us so we can learn about your interests! Please email Linnea Fichter at vicepresident@seattlecouncilptsa.org


Fundraising news (I didn't see this at the SPS website nor have I seen a press release but this is what the SCPTSA is reporting):

Bouncy houses and dunk tanks are prohibited on school grounds.  Contact Richard Staudt, SPS Risk Manager, for more information on this kind of usage.

Also, starting this fall, SPS will take "a 10% cut, up to $1,000, for the use of school grounds if the fundraising activity takes place during school hours (like Walk-a-thons).  Please contact president@seattlecouncilptsa.org for further info."

Update: I did leave out the new SCPTSA President's comment (that's Katherine Schomer) - We're trying to think of it as a "use fee" for the space.  I'll have to ask her if SCPTSA plans any pushback or will leave it to individual PTAS.

I'll put a call in for more info on both these fundraising issues.   I can only say that the PTAs put back into the district far more than they take out.  I think these fees are foolish and will make PTAs rethink some fundraising and/or what they put those dollars towards.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

The 10% fee is ridiculous. Most of our PTA's funds raised are given to our school for academic support, to do things that the State and the District should be doing. What else does the District think we're doing with these funds?

Annoyed

Anonymous said...


Questions this raises for me:

1) Will PTAs get a complete list of fundraisers that will fall under this policy?
2) 10% cut, up to $1000 per fundraiser or annually?
3) Who will be collecting these funds?
4) Will the funds go to the school or to the SPS general budget?
5) When will SPS release a policy paper on this so PTAs can review the guidelines?

I feel like this is just another SPS money grab ... similar to Pay 4 K. SPS is now trying to take a cut of money that PTAs raise for the schools ... unbelievable!

N by NW

Jon said...

Absurdly short-sighted, but I wouldn't be surprised if the proponents thought having all schools generating $0 in PTA funds was better than having some schools generating PTA funds and some not. Equity and all that.

Of course, what would really be equitable would be to have per student funding be the same for all schools and all students. If we are going to do this 10% tax on PTA funds, perhaps we should also make per student funding the same everywhere.

Melissa Westbrook said...

N by NW, as I stated, this is only for fundraising on school property during the school day. That said, anything you are selling - wrapping paper, etc. - might fall under this.

The funds are likely to go to the General Fund as do property rentals (you may recall that Cleveland had several non-school events that they did not charge for even though they should have).

I will get more info.

wsmama3 said...

ARGH! What do they think I'm busting hump raising money for?! MY SCHOOL -my underfunded, under staffed, under supplied school.

Anonymous said...

I think a 10% surcharge is completely reasonable, even without a measly $1000 cap. Gee. Are people really so selfish that they can't see benefitting students in schools other than their own? Aren't other schools also underfunded, under staffed and under supplied? Looks like school auctions would likely be off limits; they're mostly not on school grounds. But I like the thinking, and hopefully it's only a first step.

-Big Spender

Anonymous said...

@big spender

No, the siphoned off 10% or $1,000 per event ISN'T going "to the kids", it's going to the ADULTS in the glass palace.

I understand the reasoning which has been discussed and debated on this blog about the merits of some form of PTA or Site Counsel "equalization" (kind of like a tip pool in a restaurant between wait staff and kitchen staff), whereby x% of a school's total fundraising would go into a general pool for some kind of redistribution because different schools raise different amounts on a per student basis. But, that IS NOT what this is. It is just a pure money grab. No thank you. It really is the principal of the thing, from this check writing parent's perspective. A major turn off. Personally, I would bypass it. And this from a parent who votes yes on levies as well as yes to the income tax. Taking these kinds of crumbs from kids's movathons is too obnoxious and not going to have any positive affect elsewhere.

Think about it, let's say there are 45 schools that have events, SPS get a maximum of $45,000 to spread around the other 50 schools. Really, is that worth the staff time to simply track the dollar flow and manage the oversite?

These people are nuts. Or pathetic. Ooops, hope that doesn't violate a blog rule, it's not name calling, it is commentary.

-think much?

Anonymous said...

If you are a property owner, you are already supporting all schools with your property taxes. Why is it selfish to contribute additional money to your child's school?

As far as the new rules, many schools are connected to a city park. If the Move-a-thon is held during the day, on park property, does the surcharge apply? I'd be curious to see a list a schools that hold move-a-thons. Something about the fee just doesn't seem right.

Anonymous said...

A quick search indicates McDonald, Wedgwood, Schmitz Park, Catherine Blaine, and Viewlands have Move-a-thons as part of PTA fundraising. Others?

Anonymous said...

Seattle Schools won't charge PTAs a fee on donations (2010)

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2011413993_ptafee23m.html

I suppose the idea is still alive...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the students will be outraged as well when they find out that 10 per cent of the pledges they collected went to the district. They might even learn about schools that don't have any fundraisers because the parents and neighbors don't have any extra money to donate.

Shocked Too

Anonymous said...

Does this also affect ASB & Boosters? What about fundraising activities like ticket sales, sponsorship campaigns, checks collected during school day for fees for 5th grade camp or band trips?

HS parent

Jon said...

Once again, this is people with some misguided idea of equality going after parents who are in public schools and trying to help public schools. No one is going going to solve equality by going after parents in our public schools. People most responsible for economic equality in our society aren't even in public schools.

What a waste of time. How about the district staff leave the meager donations to the PTAs alone and go work on the miserable 45% pass rate of 10th graders in math? Doesn't the district have better things to spend their time on?

mirmac1 said...

Don't forget the 7.8% that the Alliance for Ed siphons of for "administrative services"

Maureen said...

So schools are holding fundraisers on school property during the school day? Doesn't that seem problematic in itself? We complain about early release days for PD, but it's ok to have kids out of class to raise money? I can't think of any substantial school day/property fundraising done at any of my kids' schools (and one of them raised about $200,000 a year.) Couldn't moveathons happen on weekends or after school? (Honest question--I really don't know how they work.)

Anonymous said...

I rather write one check to the PTA and be done without all the doo-dahs. Gone through the whole bake sales, moveathon, auction, book sales, etc. and it's too much. The amount of time, energy, and social politicking involved was reaching a burnout tipping point. Plus there was this sense of who brings or appears to bring the most $ to the school pretty much "own" the school. That caused a weird dynamic with each new principal we get.

This leaves more time for volunteering in classes.

Another parent

Anonymous said...

Maureen, lots of schools have a moveathon, and all day fundraiser where kids both get active running, and collect money while doing it. I loved that activity for the kids. Some schools raise nearly 100K on that.

Right on Another Parent. Donations foster undue influence, and it's unavoidable. We complain about Bill Gates wanting influence - but we see that same mentality in his little-fish cousins in local schools.

Bellvue has already started this donation profit sharing. You can't just "fundraise" your cause, or even your collective cause in Bellvue. It's coming folks.

-Big Spender

Anonymous said...

When I was in grade school we had fundraisers where kids were supposed to raise money by selling junk to their friends and family. The organization would do a sales pitch and convince us to sell as much as possible to get additional prizes. I hated it. The move-a-thons seem a much better way to build school spirit (and funds) while simply having fun. By having it during the school day, everyone gets to participate. I think they raise more money than direct donations. Kids can take some ownership and feel proud of their contribution. I'd hate to see something like this squashed by SPS policies. Sometimes I'm convinced their motto is: "We'll find what's working and suck the life out of it."

Anonymous said...

Jon, here's the actual math pass rates. Your website is from 2008. Get a clue. They are 71% and 79% from the latest HSPE's. I guess the district is doing amazingly well in math, improving from 45% to 79%. Better keep writing your donation checks!

Big Spender.

Anonymous said...

Ask around about direct donations first and see. We found we were able to raise just as much with direct appeal as we didn't have overhead cost. Moveathon didn't bring in as much as our schools have so many fundraisers. IF you like moveathon, do it on the 1/2 day after school. According to the thread, 10% applies DURING school hours.

There are many, many school events that don't involve fundraising to build community spirits.

another parent

Anonymous said...

Here's a the Seattle data. Almost the same as the state's. Actually, slightly better. Looks like our Math scores are pretty much the same as our Reading.

BS

Jon said...

Big Spender, here's the actual math pass rates (from 2009-10, the last year they were available for 10th grade). 45%. You are the one who needs to get a clue (and, by the way, tone it down, you being rude isn't helpful and just makes others respond similarly).

It is true that the math rates are better in other grades and other years. 45% was a shockingly bad year, perhaps an outlier. But, even if we take, say, 2010-2011 for 8th grade in math, you are looking at 64%. You cannot possibly be saying 64% of students passing standards in math is good enough? Over a third of children can't do math and go into being adults crippled by not being able to do math. And you are happy with that?

I've got an idea. How about instead of making policies to tax parents who are only trying to help their schools, the district finally fix Madrona K-8? It has extra capacity and miserable educational outcomes that are only getting worse for the few students it has (only 213 students, average test scores below 50%, and test scores dropping year over year). Maybe whoever in the district staff has time to do this PTA crap has time to go fix Madrona K-8 instead? A good start might be firing the principal and adding a nice STEM program there.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Jon, SPS is still looking for the SPS equity and social justice curriculum you despised so much since according to you, it's affecting the math. Can you give a hint where it might be? Besides your first posting would be asking SPS to break the laws as special ed, FRL, and ELL students do get legislated fundings. It sounds like the constant measuring and weighing of who gets more or less is really affecting you.

summer

Anonymous said...

For clarification, haven't the EOCs replaced the HSPEs in math? The pass rates have increased about 20% statewide with the with the EOCs (compared to the HSPEs). Did students suddenly get smarter, or is the bar set lower? You can't directly compare the pass rates from the HSPE and the EOC. They are different tests.

a parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I still have not heard back from the district. I will try again.

At Roosevelt, the PTA had zero fundraisers (because of the huge - and competing - amount of fundraising for booster groups). We did what was mentioned - No Bake Bake Sale. Just give us a check, no selling, no attending - money going directly to support the school.

Anonymous said...

1. I thought SPS already stepped in this a few years ago (someone upthread linked the article)

2. PTAs set budgets in April. THAT is when we needed to be notified of this fee. Now more fundraising will need to happen or we'll have to cut funding for items we've budgeted for.

Argh. No advance notice. No attempt (that I'm aware of) to engage stakeholders (you know, the ones doing the fundraising). Just an edict from on high. With no explanation as to where it will go, how it will be spent...

-Frustrated PTSApres

Anonymous said...

Jon, Is this your first year as a school parent, or what? EOC means End Of Course exam... it does NOT mean: "No Results". And yes there are EOC test results from 2011, and 2012. 2013's will be available when they are graded. The tests are given every year. EOC started a few years ago because the HSPE didn't measure actual course work. Yes, there were tests last year that were graded. Yes, the kids took them this year. It takes them all summer to grade them, the results will be published in September (probably).

Duh! Gloom and doom, holier than thou, sky is falling attitudes - they don't help anyone, even though you somehow think somebody should feel shame about the "tragic" state of public math ed. Get a grip. 79.5% isn't too terrible.

Students do better when tested on courses they took recently - so, better results on EOCs than HSPE. HSPE simply was something given to 10th graders, no matter when they took the math. Nor, what math it was. How well would you do on the EOC2 math Jon? Something to ponder.



BS.

Jon said...

Sure, let's do equality, let's make all spending equal. Per student spending at Bailey-Gatzert Elementary was $8,259 per student. Per student spending at View Ridge Elementary was $6,036. Let's go for equality and make everything equal. Yes, that will cut $824,733 from Bailey-Gatzert's budget if its per student spending was the same as View Ridge, but, hey, it's all worth it to equalize those PTA funds too!

I don't know how to make this more clear. You are going for the wrong target. You are not going to make things better at Bailey-Gatzert or any other school with low PTA funds by going after donations at other schools in some false attempt at equality. The only way you are going to make things better is by getting more funding for all our public schools. The problem isn't other parents in Seattle Public Schools. You have the wrong target.

Anonymous said...

Jon, the overwhelming difference in per student funding is because of special education programs in those buildings. Those funds aren't available for anything except special ed. Most of that money is for special ed teachers and staff. Big duh!!!! Bailey G has a generic specialed self contained program. That's no special equity mystery. You can unknot your underwear. And overwhelmingly, it isn't anything extra, for anybody. Go ahead. You can still write that $200 check. The Bailey Gatzerts in the district will only get their 20.

BS - and how

Jon said...

No, you're wrong. View Ridge has nearly the same percentage of special ed (10% vs. 19%). If you want a closer comparison, View Ridge and Madrona have the same spec ed (10%), but Madrona gets much more funding ($8,227 vs. $6,036).

Oh, and I guess I should be as rude and stupid as you in response, so I should say, big duh!!!! That's no special mystery. You can unknot your underwear.

Anonymous said...

Jon, you are going to give yourself a heart attack. You can't just look at percentage comparison. SPED dollars get weighted based on funding category. For example, medically fragile students will get more money as their needs are more complex and demand low pupil:staff ratio. They may need more services such as speech, OT, PT, etc. This also means school that offer such services need to have space to accomodate all of this. Other kids may need only speech therapy and some PT, thus are funded less per their category.

Summer

Anonymous said...

PTA funds do not come close to closing the funding difference between schools. We've been through this before. The schools raising the most PTA money tend to have the lowest per student funding.

From the Seattle Schools 2011-12 Budget: [rehashed from 1/29/12 post on PTA funding] The calculations are simply the school budget divided by the number of students.

School: Average school funding per student (% of school spending on Special Ed), listed in order of highest to lowest

High schools

Rainier Beach: $8,206 (14%)
Cleveland: $7,746 (19%)
Ingraham: $7,467 (26%)
West Seattle: $7,190 (22%)
Sealth: $7,024 (20%)
Nathan Hale: $6,597 (21%)
Franklin: $6,507 (12%)
Roosevelt: $5,799 (14%)
Garfield: $5,590 (10%)

School: Average school funding per student (% of school spending on Special Ed), random list

Elementaries

Whittier: $5,652 (12%)
Bryant: $5,524 (8%)
Dunlap: $7,883 (15%)
Hawthorne: $8,206 (19)
Lafayette: $5,502 (9%)
Laurelhurst: $5,283 (5%)
Rainier View: $10,794 (17%)
Roxhill: $8,464 (28%)
West Seattle: $8,315 (19%)
Schmitz Park: $5,313 (12%)

number cruncher

Anonymous said...

Number cruncher, don't forget to add FRL, ELL categories too. That leaves grant$ to round out the budgets of some schools.

summer



Anonymous said...

And more from the old 2012 PTA thread...

I had a principal whose previous experience was in the South Seattle schools. My school routinely did fundraisers (usually books or supplies) for a sister school. The principal couldn't believe it and told our PTA that the school we were helping had way more money than we did. Apparently, there's a lack of transparency when it comes to outside funding for schools. I'm including federal money as well as community support, business support, grants and gifts. We really don't know how much money is out there. It is hard to argue when you don't have the facts.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kids, settle down.

This is NOT about sharing any funds, PTA or otherwise.

This is about how the funds are used and where they are stored. See my update.

Anonymous said...

You all need to sit in on your school BLT/budget meeting. Read up on WSS on SPS website. Perhaps then you won't get so mad about all of this unless you disagree with the laws. In which case, you can cast your votes accordingly and hope nothing ever happens to you and yours where you may need to access special services should your child or a loved one becomes disabled, loses a job, or born with CP or autism.

summer

Anonymous said...

Phone the neighbors!!!We don't have to give anything to any poor kids! Hallelujah! Jon. Get a total grip. Are you a kindergarten parent? Sped programs are funded by service model number. View Ridge has service model 2, plus a whole bunch of service model 1 students. Thurgoog Marshall has service model 4. Lincoln has exactly 6 service model 1 students. That drives the difference in per student funding. If any student gets a 1 on 1 aide, that single student costs about 20 times the typical rate. Obviously, that greatly impacts "average" cists, but really isn't about equity in any way. For somebody so concerned about math pass rates, you have zero critical thinking skills.

BS

Name said...

reposting before this gets deleted

Anonymous @ 8/1/13, 12:34 AM said...
A quick search indicates McDonald, Wedgwood, Schmitz Park, Catherine Blaine, and Viewlands have Move-a-thons as part of PTA fundraising. Others?

pick a name next time. you just need to click on the 3rd option down and write in anything. you don't need to be signed into google.

Anonymous said...

JSIS has a movathon, it is the largest fund raiser for the school to fund everything other than IAs. It is on Saturday, though. So does that mean it is exempt from this new rule?

When I was in high school we had lots of bake sales (the students, not the PTA). They were very successful, we had enough money left over after our class's graduation to set up a college scholarship for the younger classes. We were the generation that got bused, so I guess the long bus rides made us hungry, almost everyone bought something from the bake sales. I remember baking 4 strawberry rhubarb pies for each sale, and all the baked goods sell out each time. Does this new rule mean the students would have to hand over 10% of the take to SPS each time for this kind of fundraising? Not so good, I don't think I would have stayed up till midnight baking every week, if we had to give 10% to the district each week. The ingredients were not cheap either, we payed for those ourselves, which meant we gave our schools time, effort, and our own money. Is SPS really proposing taking money from teenagers? Oy vey!

CCA

Anonymous said...

NoCCA. Read Melissa's update on the new 8/1 thread. It goes to ASB if during school hours. Think there were much overreactions before info got clarified:)

Reader