Five Reasons Why Eliminating or “Reforming” Local School Foundations Hurts Every Student in PPS

1. Cuts millions in funding for our PPS schools

  • In 2020 Local School Foundations raised $4 million dollars in private funds for PPS schools, 30% of which went to the Fund for PPS. These extra fundraising efforts resulted in an extra $1.2 million in private dollars for 53 high needs schools. 

  • Eliminating Local School Foundations would result in drastic cuts in funding for every school in our district.

2. 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.

3. Further divides our school district into silos of “haves” and “have nots”

  • PPS has a stated goal of building community across schools and neighborhoods to foster ownership of all schools in our city, and we wholeheartedly agree with this goal. Unfortunately, this proposal would exacerbate the individual school silos that exist today by eliminating the only policy mandating distribution of privately raised funds across every school in PPS. Schools with Local School Foundations currently contribute .30 of every $1 raised to the Fund for PPS, making local private dollars available for other schools across the district.

4. Creates larger class sizes, cuts critical supports for teachers

  • Our communities are still recovering from some of the most difficult school years in PPS history. This proposal would eliminate specialists, educational assistants, librarians, and other critical staff at the worst time. It would result in larger class sizes across schools with and without Local School Foundations.

5. It’s Unrealistic and Irresponsible

  • Proponents of eliminating Local School Foundations continue to make the faulty assumption that donors to individual school foundations will continue to donate to a district wide fund distributed across every school. Any seasoned fundraiser will agree that this approach is simply unrealistic. This is why grassroots fundraising is so successful: local communities want to support their own local causes and are much more likely to give money locally versus district wide. Eliminating $4 million dollars in funding with no clear plan to replace it is irresponsible.

What We Stand to Lose

Screen Shot 2023-01-13 at 9.34.00 PM

The above chart shows the massive impact eliminating Local Foundations will have on teachers and students, as presented by the Fund for PPS in a 22-23' LSF Report.

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