Responses to Commonly Asked Questions/Statements
We agree! We fully support more funding going to schools with higher underserved populations and lower grade completion rates.
Based on the past several years' funding data, schools with a higher percentage of affluent families receive less funding per student, which makes sense!
The problem is we still have underserved students at ALL schools, along with students with special needs and/or learning differences. With less funding per student at affluent schools, those students are getting left behind.
Foundations do not "buy" teachers. Parent volunteers work with principals to raise private funds from the local community that shore up our intentionally under-staffed budgets. Principals then work with PPS to hire needed staff.
In a perfect world, all our schools would be fully funded and there would be no need to raise additional funds. This is not the case in PPS.
The reality is the more affluent schools receive fewer public dollars per student, as it should be. In some cases, schools receive half the funds and teachers as other schools.
Schools must be able to fundraise to meet basic learning needs for their students. This allows PPS to allocate more public money to schools with higher underserved populations.
While it's easy to throw around the term "buying" teachers, Local School Foundations are actually trying to provide enough staffing support to ensure their schools are operating at the same baseline as everyone else.
Foundations work to ensure their students have the same resource baseline and contribute 30% of funds raised to the Fund for PPS, which helps other students in need in our district.
Wrong. Until all our schools are properly funded, this will hurt ALL of our students because eliminating Local School Foundations disproportionately impacts our highest need schools & communities
- Schools in PPS with Local School Foundations typically have some of the highest enrollments and class sizes in the district. The ability for these Foundations to fund positions outside of the PPS budget by raising private dollars allows PPS to direct public funding to other schools.
- If Local School Foundations are eliminated, PPS will be forced, by its own rules and teachers contract, to fund positions with public dollars at these Foundation schools with high enrollments and class sizes. These positions and these funds will need to be reallocated from the higher need schools, cutting their existing public resources.
That won’t work, and here’s why:
- Local School Foundation donors support our top-down system of funding high-needs schools with more public funds and teachers and want to be able to bridge the gap this structure creates at their own student's school.
- Fundraising is expensive and takes time. Growing the Fund for PPS to a multi-million-dollar organization will take years and around 20% of money raised. Money that would not go directly to schools as it does now.
- Grassroots fundraising works. All large nonprofits have local chapters. Eliminating Local School Foundations cuts critical ties with engaged donors and the volunteer labor foundation organizers provide.
- Removing the option for donors to directly impact their schools will result in families leaving the district for private schools.
Raise all boats. Our focus must be on how we bring in additional funding from the community for EVERY PPS school. Running a Local School Foundation and fundraising for a school is time consuming, and not every school community has individuals who can donate that kind of time or experience to successfully fundraise.
This is where the Fund for PPS should play a major role: build a team to fundraise for major projects and staffing at schools without Local School Foundations and help schools start a Local School Foundation with fundraising support, event logistics, and other resources.
Individual school foundations should continue to raise as much as possible because the more they raise the more money is sent to the Fund for PPS to distribute.
Foundation Funding Impacts Schools. Hear Fom School Leaders:
From Rieke Elementary:
The Rieke Foundation funds are used to add a required layer of student and staff supports. It is through the use of these funds that Rieke is able to have a technology EA who teaches technology weekly to students and supports family and staff technology needs. In addition, Foundation funded EA's (.5 and .2) support large class size classes in literacy and math as well as supported the intervention work directed and implemented by our .3 Student Support Specialist teacher. That .3 teaching position is also Foundation funded. All of these staff members also support lunch and other supervision needs.
Without these funds Rieke would have only the following staffing: 12 classroom teachers, 1 Principal, 1.5 secretary (.75 weighted), 1.5 counseling (.5 from SIA), full time art, a .8 PE teacher, a 1.5 Media Specialist, a .5 Library Assistant (.25 weighted), and a Learning Center teacher without para support. We have 303 students. *(#s show hours per week)
From Buckman Elementary:
My (Library Media Specialist/Teacher-Librarian) position has been influenced the most by the funds of the Foundation. PPS is overwhelmingly underfunded. Specifically, our school with higher needs does not get the positions to keep our heads above water. PPS only provides enough FTE for Library just to keep the doors open.
Our Foundation raises enough to fill in that gap and keep me full-time. The difference between providing a FULL TIME qualified Library Media Specialist versus what is funded by the district is extremely drastic. Currently, students attend the library every week, all year long. On each visit they learn vital components to be seekers of information and critics of fake news. They have enough time in the library to engage in meaningful lessons and explore their reading interests. Being full-time is still extremely busy every day as it doesn't provide a library assistant. I alone am in charge of not only creating a relevant and engaging curriculum for six grade levels each week, but I also run an entire library including collection development, processing, volunteer management, special events, etc... All-in-all a school librarian is more than 15 different jobs at the Public Library.
Our school has been severely understaffed for many years. The Foundation raises the extra monies needed to keep us afloat. There is a difference between providing everyone the same staffing (NOT EQUITABLE) versus schools getting what they actually need (EQUITABLE). The Foundation, which is not a perfect system, is still that bridge between the two. Fully dismantling this system will cause detrimental effects on schools and the longevity we all hope for in the teaching profession. When we lose more positions of support, the current staff carry the extra load and end up leaving PPS. I have seen it happen to many of our beloved teachers.