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Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Open Thread

It's a map, map, map world.

You saw the map I put up yesterday about the most highly paid public employee in each state (mostly sports coaches of some sort).  More interesting maps have crossed my path and some you might share with your children.

ArtsEd Washington, a group that supports arts education in public schools,  has a map showing all the school districts in the state.  It does give you pause in terms of how many tiny districts there are and the state spending that entails.   They are also sending a survey on arts education to every school board candidate in the state. 

From Twister Sifter (funny), "40 maps that will help you make sense of the world."  Your kids might like some of these.

Also of interest to kids, the first school in Seattle opened on August 15, 1870.  From HistoryLink:

On August 15, 1870, Seattle’s first public schoolhouse opens. (Seattle's first school, opened in 1854, was a tuition-based or private school. The first public schooling commenced in 1862 when elementary and high school students were sent for instruction to the new Territorial University in downtown Seattle.) 

Seattle Public School District No 1 purchased four lots in the "northern portion of town" (on the east side of 3rd Avenue between Madison and Spring streets) for a public school. On the lots, which cost $2,000, contractors Russell & Shorey built a 30 x 48 foot two-story, two-room school house. 

(In "the more things stay the same", the school district ran over its building budget, didn't pay the contractor, got sued and almost lost the building.)

FYI, for fundraising, in case you didn't know Target has a "red" Target card (it's only for use at Target so it is not a true credit card and you get 5% off everything every time you use it).  They will donate 1% of your purchase price to a designated school of your choice.  (If you look at the checkout counter, there is always a sign up with local totals - I frequently see Hale, Eckstein and Sacajawea on the sign.)  It's a pretty easy way to give to your school if you shop at Target.

(Yes, I know Target is somewhat anti-union and I can understand some not wanting to shop there.  But I also understand some do shop there and if you can extract money from them for your school, I'm for that.)

What's on your mind?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Office Depot also has a school donation program. They will donate 5% of your purchases to the school of your choice. Tell the check-out clerk the name of the school, and he/she will look up the code.

-North End Mom

Anonymous said...

The trick with RedCard Giving program is that the administration of the school have to enroll in it: enrolment can't be done by an eager parent or a PTA member. I've tried three times to enlist school staff help for this easy, no effort way to raise funds. Don't know why they're not interested: all the other private and public schools within two miles of me are enrolled.

--Confused and Dissatisfied

Melissa Westbrook said...

Confused, that is really too bad. Because the figures I see from this can be in the high hundreds or thousands of dollars. Maybe take a snapshot of the list at the checkout counter so they see what they might be losing.

Anonymous said...

It is really too bad. We keep seeing that school's children and their parents at our Target store: the school is within two miles of the store. And the RedCard account is super-easy to apply for: it's the first store card I applied for in 17 years.

--Confused and Dissatisfied

Unknown said...

I wonder what happens to that money and how much schools actually see. Where does the money go? Do the individual schools even have a way to handle funds to individual schools? What do they use the funds for? Is it even worth the hoopla?

Melissa Westbrook said...

The principal decides how to use it but I suppose it is up to parents to ask him or her, "The Target money - how much came to the school this year."

I think, though, it's easy money and worth it.

Anonymous said...

I view Target as the lesser of two evils when it comes to the low-cost mega-chains. I have had a Target VISA since my daughter was in elementary school. The school gets 1% of all purchases AT Target and .5% or all other purchases made with the card.

Friends and relatives who have Target VISAs can designate your child's school for their edu-dollars. Now that my daughter is going off to college, I am going to change the school back to her old SPS elementary as they can use the funds the most.

Solvay Girl

Melissa Westbrook said...

Solvay, yes, now that my kids are out of school, I change it every year to benefit one of the struggling elementaries in SPS. Right now, it's Northgate.

Unknown said...

Put up your umbrellas, Target Red Card fans,  because I'm going to rain a little bit on your Target Red Card parade.  I have some concerns.

My first concern is promoting a credit card with a 22.9% interest rate. For those consumers who pay off their bills every month, this should be no problem. Credit cards are exempt from usury laws, but consumers who want to use a credit card at Target have other options which are closer to 15%. But the fact of the matter is that most consumers do not pay off their credit card bills each month. There are some businesses whose credit card divisions make more money than their actual retail divisions do.

Secondly, when I was the development director of a small private school (10 years ago) we received less than $200 per year from this program, despite fairly relentless promotion. So Target probably got more than its money's worth in promotion from us.

Thirdly, in the scheme of things, it's really not that much money. At our school, tuition accounted for most of the earned income, but fundraising through the annual fund, auction,  and PTO brought in about $200,000 in unearned income.

Next, as a previous poster pointed out, applications for funds and checks are cut directly to the principal, not the PTA. This means that the principal needs to take time out of the day to fax the neccessary documents to Target and have infrastructure available to handle funds. Normally, in public schools, this type of fundraising is the purview of the PTA.  It may simply not be worth the principal's time, especially if very little funds result.

Lastly, having too many small fundraising efforts can dilute serious fundraising efforts. If you have a fundraising goal of $200,000 and you have families who feel that they made their contribution to that effort by using their Target Red Card, you will not reach your goal. If a family uses a Target Red Card to charge $1,000 worth of goods, the school receives $10, and the family feels like it has done its part.

So what's my takeaway? If a family uses Target and religiously pays off their bill each month, then, by all means take advantage if it. If I was fundraising at a  low-income public school, would I promote it as a fundraising method? Absolutely not!