Fundraising as it exists in education today doesn’t resemble this innocent memory of mine. Rather, fundraising of the 21st century feels like a mandate. I receive dozens of, what I’ll call opportunities, to “maximize financial resources.” I say mandate, because I am being asked in almost every communication that comes from the district, in extremely aggressive language, to send in money. These requests ask me to:
- pay for my child’s absence ($40/day)
- donate to the district’s educational foundation per-family an on-going amount every month ($25/month)
- purchase school supplies – that my children can’t put their names on, because they get pooled in the classroom ($100/year)
- buy tickets to my individual school’s foundation’s fundraising auction ($75/ticket)
- buy donated products and services, parking spaces, and “fund the need” initiatives at the auction ($1000/year)
- buy tickets to the annual high school booster clubs’ community event ($45/ticket)
- sell products for PTA at each of my child’s school ($50/year)
- offset the cost of buses for field trips ($20/year)
- eat at local restaurants so some percentage of proceeds go back to the school ($30/night per event)
- pay for entry in the school district’s annual Fun Run ($35/registrant)
- attend summer enrichment programs ($175/class)
- become a member of PTA – for which rewards are given when there is 100% parent participation in the classroom ($10/parent per school)
I know this looks like a long list, but I can guarantee you it’s not an exhaustive list. I’m sure I’ve left off multiple “opportunities.” I get more than a little frustrated, so I decided to take a look at what I could potentially have spent last year, using my own family of four as my model (2 adults and 2 children) - $3,390. And I don’t have kids in high school sports, activities or arts yet!
I’m going to project a little here and make some additional assumptions about number of students and families. In a district of 10,000 children, let’s assume 5,000 families (2 kids per family) participate in half of what is being requested. The potential total amount of money collected in one school year - $8.4 million.
Could that possibly be true? As a community we raise millions of dollars for our schools? That’s an astronomical amount of money! So here’s my question … Where does all the money go?
- Is all that additional money necessary for a high-quality public education in today’s society?
- Is all that money being divided equitably among all schools in the district?
- Can every penny be accounted for?
- Is empirical data readily available to the community, showing how my child’s educational experience has been enriched?
These questions need answers. That’s where I come in.
Let me help streamline our community efforts to build great Los Al schools with reasonable fundraising requests and equitable allocation of that money for all students … that doesn’t break the bank!
Couldn’t we all use a little raise?