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: 

  • 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 - we do not support eliminating this option. 
  • Fundraising is expensive and takes time. Growing the Fund for PPS to a multi-million-dollar organization will require investment from the community. 
  • Grassroots fundraising works. All large nonprofits have local chapters. Eliminating School Foundations cuts critical ties with engaged donors and the volunteer labor foundation organizers provide.
  • Donors need both options - a central foundation and school foundation option. Fundraising is not one-size fits all, donors give where they feel their money makes the most impact. We must provide more options to secure more support. 
  • Nonprofits need reliable funding to make future plans, ensuring the equity share is a large contribution they can count on will create stability in the Fund and show donors there is buy-in from the community. Major grantors want to see stability in funding and community buy-in.

Invest In and Grow the Fund for PPS

  1. Establish and maintain a “Teacher and Staff Hiring” campaign, that would raise significant funding for every school without an active foundation to hire teachers and staff in line with their school plan. 
    • The President of the Fund for PPS will work to update their 5 year plan to incorporate this campaign and create a plan for adding staff and any other supports needed. 
    • The Fund’s staff and board will work with PPS to develop annual fundraising targets based on current school needs and fundraising trends. This goal will be well communicated with the community.
  2. Supporting a large district-wide yearly fundraising event, and
  3. Strengthen existing LSF structures to generate district-wide support.

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.

Let’s Implement a Holistic Solution That Preserves Current Funding Mechanisms and Grows The Fund for PPS

The Proposal - Redirect Equity Share

One of the primary criticisms of the current system is that the amount of funds distributed from Parent Fund Grants to higher-need schools is too small to make an impact and there are many schools that are financially in the middle, receiving nothing. 

We agree. There is a better way to use the hard-earned contributions from independent and local school foundations.

In 2021-2022, the total amount collected from school foundations was $1,255,000. Let’s look at how we could use that money differently.

We are proposing that the 33% equity share would fund the following:

Invest In and Grow the Fund for PPS

  1. Establish and maintain a “Teacher and Staff Hiring” campaign that would raise meaningful funding for every school without an active foundation to hire teachers and staff in line with their school plan. 
    • The President of the Fund for PPS will work to update their 5 year plan to incorporate this campaign and create a plan for adding staff and any other supports needed. 
    • The Fund’s staff and board will work with PPS to develop annual fundraising targets based on current school needs and fundraising trends. This goal will be well communicated with the community.
  2. Support a large district-wide yearly fundraising event.
  3. Strengthen existing LSF structures to generate district-wide support.

We cannot eliminate school foundations and cross our fingers that funding will spontaneously appear. The Fund for PPS does not have the budget or staff to fundraise $1.25M annually. Our proposal provides real support to ensure the Fund for PPS is successful in establishing a Teacher and Staff Hiring campaign, while maintaining focus on their existing goals - Inspired Sustainable Schoolyards, Arts Education and Enrichment and Crisis Relief. 

We agree that a district-wide foundation, if implemented correctly, will provide millions of additional dollars for the district schools that currently receive little to nothing from Parent Fund Grants. At the same time, this model preserves the important connections between communities and their neighborhood schools that are built through school foundations.  Strong school foundations will be used to build a central structure that raises even more funds overall, harnessing these connections and growing new ones as well. 

Adopt an Equity Lens in Operations

PPS will direct school foundations to adopt best-equity practices for their fundraising efforts. Examples include the following: 

  • Offer Community Tickets to any event at no cost or "pay what you wish." 
  • Create opportunities to support the school foundation that are not financial. 
  • Eliminate any “pay-to-play” experiences from fundraising events (ie, "Principal for a day" or "Teacher's Helper").
  • Require anything sold at an event that includes student experiences (ie, classroom backyard movie night) to be open to the entire cohort (classroom in this example) regardless of whether a ticket purchase was made.
  • PPS shall direct Principals who use school foundation funds for FTE to clearly demonstrate how these expenditures are helping to create equity within their community, including sharing data on improved student scores and/or morale.

Change Fund Retention Structure  

  • To keep pace with the rate of inflation, change school foundation fund retention to 100% of all funds raised up to $20,000 for 2024 and automatically increase that threshold by $1K every three years. (this increase reflects basic inflation–the current $10,000 level was set nearly 30 years ago). 
  • Limits regarding how much any school can raise or any restriction on what they can spend those funds on will be removed. Placing a limit on how much a school foundation can raise or on the number of FTEs the school can fund is a lose-lose proposition. It discourages schools from raising above an arbitrary limit, translating to fewer equity share dollars to help other school communities. Fundraising creates more opportunity for all students within PPS. 

What You Can Do

1) Contact the PPS School Board: Email them and ask them to consider our five requests: 

2) Send a public comment to the Board:

3) Contact the PPS Leadership: Email them and ask them to consider the five things listed above.

4) Sign the Petition:

5) Send this website to parents at your school. Ask them to take action.  

6) Alert your school's leaders and PTA