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.