Donations to your enrolled public school

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Carson
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Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Carson »

Would anyone mind sharing how much they donate to the public school their kids are enrolled in? Not in form of property taxes or mandatory supplies fees, but just as donations to the annual fund or if they have general fundraising?

We have been pretty lucky all along and never had to pay much for daycare and had reasonable preschool costs. Our kids are enrolled in two well-performing public elementary schools, despite there being a lot of general complaints about our overall system (Chicago Public Schools). So we're grateful for the education they're receiving, but not sure what is really all that appropriate.

As a household we haven't traditionally done a ton of charitable giving in dollars, but DH and I are heavily involved serving as board/on the ground members of a couple of different groups.
Last edited by Carson on Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Irisheyes
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Irisheyes »

Between solicitations for our child's public high school band program and solicitations for the annual fund, I would say we donate between 500-1000 yearly.

Our child is in a good, but becoming-increasingly-financially strapped CA school district.

When our child was in elementary and middle school, she belonged to a program in the public school that asked parents to kick in $2500 yearly for enrichments such as music, art, and field trips. We were happy to pay that voluntary amount as the program was an excellent one.
runner3081
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by runner3081 »

Zero.

Well, outside of the $20-$60 per year for class activities, teacher gifts, etc that the room mom solicits.
Luke Duke
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Luke Duke »

If donating directly to the school is a hassle, you could donate to the PTA or Dads Club, if they have one. I'm the president of the Dads Club (501c3) at my kids' elementary school and I could basically guarantee a donor that every cent they donated would be spent on a specific item/program/teacher's class/etc. if that's what they wanted, within reason. Since the PTA is a part of a national organization, they are restricted on the things that they spend money on.
letsgobobby
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by letsgobobby »

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Luke Duke
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Luke Duke »

I really didn't read the original post very carefully...

My wife and I probably spend $1000-1500/yr for the school. The bulk of this is at the annual Dads Club auction and several smaller expenses that I don't bother getting reimbursed for from my treasurer.
westrichj312
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by westrichj312 »

Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
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randomizer
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by randomizer »

Zero. Our donation budget is fully allocated elsewhere.
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letsgobobby
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

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Meaty
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Meaty »

runner3081 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:05 pm Zero.

Well, outside of the $20-$60 per year for class activities, teacher gifts, etc that the room mom solicits.
Agree. I pay plenty in property taxes.
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Topic Author
Carson
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Carson »

Thanks for the responses so far. DH and I agreed to put in $100 to each school's spring fundraiser; while we agreed it felt stingy, we weren't sure of the amount that would be better. So just trying to get a gauge.

Unfortunately the schools tax revenue and state funding doesn't cover everything that makes these schools attractive places to be.

The receiving PTAs are pretty transparent when it comes to explaining where the $ go and what they are used for. Eg, we donated $40 last year to help the music room buy xylophones (thankfully they kept these at the school! :wink: )
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decapod10
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by decapod10 »

We donate whenever one is requested. Our school has a fund that requests a donation at the beginning of the year, roughly $600. It’s used to fund special projects or buy special equipment. I believe they take ideas from parents/students/teachers and choose a few ideas and invest into them. They also help pay for music classes and teachers aides, and things like that. I think it’s technically a separate organization and not part of the school.

I think there were a few other donations here and there, I estimate roughly $1000 so far for the year. The nice thing is that is tax deductible, so that’s something I suppose.

I think we joined the PTA also, I can’t remember, lol.

Also, when my kid brings home a fundraiser or needs a sponsor for Run-a-thons or whatever, we usually buy some stuff as gifts for people or whatever. Probably adds up to several hundred dollars.
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HomerJ
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by HomerJ »

letsgobobby wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:51 pm
westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
You should find a better school system for your kids then!
??

The better school systems don't need extra money.

We donate zero, beyond stuff like $5 for candy during intermission at a recent school play.
Irisheyes
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Irisheyes »

HomerJ wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:42 pm
letsgobobby wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:51 pm
westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
You should find a better school system for your kids then!
??

The better school systems don't need extra money.
I think this varies by state, and is not true everywhere.

In CA, the increasing burden of school pension contributions is heavily affecting program offerings. Our school is an excellent one, and located in a well-heeled district. Nonetheless, it is having to cut courses as the mandatory school contribution to CALstrs and CALpers (teacher pension funds) balloons every year.
Luke Duke
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Luke Duke »

westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
You don't see the value in having good schools? Do you have kids?
Luke Duke
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Luke Duke »

HomerJ wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:42 pm
letsgobobby wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:51 pm
westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
You should find a better school system for your kids then!
??

The better school systems don't need extra money.

We donate zero, beyond stuff like $5 for candy during intermission at a recent school play.
Go ask a teacher in a "better school system" how much he/she spends out of their own pocket per year for the betterment of your child.
decapod10
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by decapod10 »

Luke Duke wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:01 pm
HomerJ wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:42 pm
letsgobobby wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:51 pm
westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
You should find a better school system for your kids then!
??

The better school systems don't need extra money.

We donate zero, beyond stuff like $5 for candy during intermission at a recent school play.
Go ask a teacher in a "better school system" how much he/she spends out of their own pocket per year for the betterment of your child.
HomerJ wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:42 pm
letsgobobby wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:51 pm
westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
You should find a better school system for your kids then!
??

The better school systems don't need extra money.

We donate zero, beyond stuff like $5 for candy during intermission at a recent school play.
Yeah, maybe it’s just a state to state thing, but I’m also in CA in a “good” school district and they ask for donations. I mean it makes sense in a way. A district where the families are well off and where they care enough about schools to pay a lot of money for a house in the district, it’s pretty easy to convince them to donate an extra $1k, so they ask. Every school/organization out there will take more money if they can get it. I would guess that if you live in a low income area, it’s probably not worth it to try to ask the parents for donations.
Ancal
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Ancal »

Our school has generally requested the equivalent of a month's tuition in daycare/preschool (annually), and we're happy to pay that. Brings it into perspective when we are giving up 1/12 of what we used to!
Goal33
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Goal33 »

My SO is a teacher. I put an end to out of pocket expenses and now unfortunately her class students go without activities that other teachers are willing to pay the bill for. Sorry, but I'm not paying for your kid anymore. If it matters to the parents, donate.
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dm200
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by dm200 »

We live (and have lived) in a jurisdiction that funds public schools at a high (taxpayer paid) per pupil expense. There are many elementary, middle and three high schools). Especially between elementary schools in different areas, the average income of families varies a lot. When our child(ren) were in elementary school, our neighborhood school PTA tried to fund some "extras". Our school was towards the lower family income level. I recall that the PTA funded "extras" in the higher income elementary schools were a lot more (maybe where it was least needed) than our lower income school.

I thought (and still think) this all just stinks!
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by decapod10 »

dm200 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:14 pm We live (and have lived) in a jurisdiction that funds public schools at a high (taxpayer paid) per pupil expense. There are many elementary, middle and three high schools). Especially between elementary schools in different areas, the average income of families varies a lot. When our child(ren) were in elementary school, our neighborhood school PTA tried to fund some "extras". Our school was towards the lower family income level. I recall that the PTA funded "extras" in the higher income elementary schools were a lot more (maybe where it was least needed) than our lower income school.

I thought (and still think) this all just stinks!
Yeah, a lot of it depends on how the funding structure is designed I think. In some places, the school that collects the PTA funds gets to spend it. In other places, the PTA collects all the money from the district/city/state or whatever, then distributes it among schools based on whatever criteria they choose.

I suspect that your district may have been the former. In other words, the PTA at the other higher income school funded more "extras" because they got more donations and were allowed to keep them.
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dm200
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by dm200 »

decapod10 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:30 pm
dm200 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:14 pm We live (and have lived) in a jurisdiction that funds public schools at a high (taxpayer paid) per pupil expense. There are many elementary, middle and three high schools). Especially between elementary schools in different areas, the average income of families varies a lot. When our child(ren) were in elementary school, our neighborhood school PTA tried to fund some "extras". Our school was towards the lower family income level. I recall that the PTA funded "extras" in the higher income elementary schools were a lot more (maybe where it was least needed) than our lower income school.
I thought (and still think) this all just stinks!
Yeah, a lot of it depends on how the funding structure is designed I think. In some places, the school that collects the PTA funds gets to spend it. In other places, the PTA collects all the money from the district/city/state or whatever, then distributes it among schools based on whatever criteria they choose.
I suspect that your district may have been the former. In other words, the PTA at the other higher income school funded more "extras" because they got more donations and were allowed to keep them.
Yep - the rich get richer ... :(
sawhorse
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by sawhorse »

Is this a recent thing? I'm in my mid-30s, and I'm fairly sure my parents were never asked to donate to a general fund. They had to pay for my violin when I took lessons at school, and they had to pay for field trips that I went on. But parents were never asked for general donations.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Zero. The local school PTA though does a fantastic job with fundraising and providing “extras” for the kids including a country fair, attending trips, etc. I figure that fundraising runs is about $150-$250 a year, worth every penny.
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staythecourse
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by staythecourse »

dm200 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:14 pm We live (and have lived) in a jurisdiction that funds public schools at a high (taxpayer paid) per pupil expense. There are many elementary, middle and three high schools). Especially between elementary schools in different areas, the average income of families varies a lot. When our child(ren) were in elementary school, our neighborhood school PTA tried to fund some "extras". Our school was towards the lower family income level. I recall that the PTA funded "extras" in the higher income elementary schools were a lot more (maybe where it was least needed) than our lower income school.

I thought (and still think) this all just stinks!
Personally, I like that my funding goes EXACTLY where I want it to go. If I wanted to donate to school x then I would write a check for school x instead of school y. It isn't like the school getting the donations are taking away anything from the other school. So basically, one is complaining that someone else giving money is NOT giving it to them. That sounds even less American to me. The fact is America is a capitalistic country and the person providing the "capital" gets a large say where it goes.

It seems those folks complaining are NOT complaining about the ethics, but the fact their kid is not getting to enjoy the money the other parents are giving.

Good luck.
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newpup
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by newpup »

At least $4000/yr. for 3 students between the local educational foundation and PTA. We live in an expensive district and do what we can to keep the schools well-funded.

Public schools that can demonstrate high standardized test scores keep home values high, deservedly or not. This is our rationalization for relatively high donations anyway.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by decapod10 »

sawhorse wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:00 pm Is this a recent thing? I'm in my mid-30s, and I'm fairly sure my parents were never asked to donate to a general fund. They had to pay for my violin when I took lessons at school, and they had to pay for field trips that I went on. But parents were never asked for general donations.
Based on responses here, it seems to vary quite a bit. However, I'm also in my mid/late 30's and my parents said that they donated to my elementary school in one way or another (different school district than our current one but still in CA). My mother said that a lot of times many families couldn't afford to go to field trips or participate in other activies, so other families would chip in to make sure everyone could participate, things like that. I never knew about it until I was an adult. I haven't grilled her on the specifics, but I'm certain there was other donations involved as well.

Certainly the fundraiser thing has always been around. I remember I would get boxes of chocolate bars to sell or whatever, and my parents would just buy them all because they weren't interested in taking me around door to door to sell candy bars. I would eat them all at the end, haha.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by EddyB »

decapod10 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:07 pm
Luke Duke wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:01 pm
HomerJ wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:42 pm
letsgobobby wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:51 pm
westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
You should find a better school system for your kids then!
??

The better school systems don't need extra money.

We donate zero, beyond stuff like $5 for candy during intermission at a recent school play.
Go ask a teacher in a "better school system" how much he/she spends out of their own pocket per year for the betterment of your child.
HomerJ wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:42 pm
letsgobobby wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:51 pm
westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
You should find a better school system for your kids then!
??

The better school systems don't need extra money.

We donate zero, beyond stuff like $5 for candy during intermission at a recent school play.
Yeah, maybe it’s just a state to state thing, but I’m also in CA in a “good” school district and they ask for donations. I mean it makes sense in a way. A district where the families are well off and where they care enough about schools to pay a lot of money for a house in the district, it’s pretty easy to convince them to donate an extra $1k, so they ask. Every school/organization out there will take more money if they can get it. I would guess that if you live in a low income area, it’s probably not worth it to try to ask the parents for donations.
I am self-censoring my own planned off-topic political commentary.
CascadiaSoonish
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by CascadiaSoonish »

We have two elementary school-aged kids. We contribute probably about $1K via donations and fundraisers with the PTA, as well as participating in programs with a benefit to the school (such as scrip purchases) and a variable amount of volunteer hours depending on the year.

Our district has a rule where roughly 30-40% of the funds raised by the wealthier schools gets moved into a common fund for the less wealthy schools. So the upcoming school auction which nets roughly $250K a year ends up sending a substantial chunk to other schools. Everyone knows that and I've never heard complaints.

Education isn't cheap. People might be surprised at what schools can afford nowadays compared to their childhood. And our donations + property taxes are still significantly cheaper than area private school options.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by daveydoo »

Carson wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:49 am Would anyone mind sharing how much they donate to the public school their kids are enrolled in?
A ton. Seriously. Mid four-figures a year for probably fifteen years. We felt it was way less than private school, though.

Our crappy city allocates little to public-school funding, and local ballot measures have decoupled property taxes from allocations to schools. So no matter how much you pay for your house, you get access to a crappy, underfunded school with a decrepit physical plant. For every dollar parents donate to the district foundation, 2/3 stays locally and 1/3 is shared across the entire city. So we have donated a lot for many, many years. Many other parents did, too -- but it was the same ones over and over. Just like when everyone is asked to step up for anything. Amazing all the Euro-vacation FB posts from wealthy parents who never gave a dime to the auction or foundation.

It was a financial relief to exit the public school system. (Of course now we pay for college...)
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essbeer
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by essbeer »

Probably about $2000/year. And we are borderline slackers, lots of parents contribute $10k+ per year. I honestly have no idea where the money goes, but there is a lot of peer pressure from the other parents to contribute. I once mentioned that I found $400 per person for a public school fundraiser party to be elitist and some parents wouldn't talk to me for a month after that. This is in addition to the 100 hours of work a year they want. I just do what I have to do to keep my kids from being socially black-balled.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by sawhorse »

essbeer wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:17 pm Probably about $2000/year. And we are borderline slackers, lots of parents contribute $10k+ per year. I honestly have no idea where the money goes, but there is a lot of peer pressure from the other parents to contribute. I once mentioned that I found $400 per person for a public school fundraiser party to be elitist and some parents wouldn't talk to me for a month after that. This is in addition to the 100 hours of work a year they want. I just do what I have to do to keep my kids from being socially black-balled.
Asking and expecting thousands of dollars plus 100 hours a year is outrageous. It also sets up a bad situation in which parents are socially shamed into giving money and time they perhaps don't have and are ostracized if they don't do it, and people will make assumptions about why they didn't do it without knowing the full story. And then the kids get socially blackballed as you say which is completely unacceptable.

My parents didn't attend the school musical shows even when I was the only kid with a solo song, which then and now feels like a crappy thing to do to your kid since they were free that night, they just weren't interested in going to see me perform. They sure as hell weren't going to spend 100 hours on stuff not directly related to their kid.
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ClevrChico
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by ClevrChico »

I've never heard of this, and we're in a state with high ranking public schools. I thought we were doing pretty well with maxing out supply drive requirements and putting in $15 here and there in into the fundraisers. :-) State and local taxes are on the high side, but the schools are generally good everywhere state-wide.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by littlebird »

decapod10 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:59 pm
Certainly the fundraiser thing has always been around. I remember I would get boxes of chocolate bars to sell . . .
Not always or in every place. I can assure you that when I attended NYC public schools in the 1940's and 50's, there was no such thing as fundraising. All our simple needswere fully funded by the taxpayer, and our parents would have been shocked to have been asked for donations for public schools. And so would I have been a couple of decades later, when my kids were in public schools.
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Nate79
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by Nate79 »

Max our Roth IRA's or donate to the school? Um, Roth.
SDLinguist
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by SDLinguist »

This question got me thinking about my time in highschool. I went to a public highschool in north county San Diego that is consistently rated as one of the top 100 in the county. Graduated 2008.

The school has a 501(3)(c) foundation that is chaired by parents and that parents donate to. Looking on their website at their suggested donation guide I did the math with what would be suggested for my parents given my school activities, it would come out to about 1k/year for me and 1.2k/year for my sister who is a year younger. Knowing them they probably donated that, and would be middle bottom of the pack.

That money pays for things like guest teachers for art and science classes, renovations of theater spaces, technology updates, sports equipment and uniforms: the things that most schools cut first. The parents step in to fund.

Looking at the public finance statements for the 2015-2016 school year the foundation had $1.5mm in expenditures:
$1.2mm went to the school
$50k went to management/salaries
$250k went to fundraising efforts.

And they have $500k floating cash on hand.

I never really realized just what kind of money was present in the area until I moved to college, for me that was just normal.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by daveydoo »

littlebird wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:50 pm
Not always or in every place. I can assure you that when I attended NYC public schools in the 1940's and 50's, there was no such thing as fundraising. All our simple needswere fully funded by the taxpayer, and our parents would have been shocked to have been asked for donations for public schools. And so would I have been a couple of decades later, when my kids were in public schools.
The historical data are amusing. "Not back in my day" isn't really germane here. Like how college used to be affordable -- and now it isn't.

In our urban district, the "gravy" of parent donations keeps them from cutting English and Math teachers. It's not for tech upgrades and arts enrichment, etc.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"
StealthRabbit
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by StealthRabbit »

our local pubilc schools have 'foundations' which glean millions of $ / yr from the local needy (previous source of donations), and the local public schools can all be supported through our local Community Foundation (of which the $200k/ yr president is ex School superintendent.

I took the 'the-other-route':
  • Worked night shift so I could homeschool my kids
  • donated 20 hrs / week as a volunteer at public schools (since I am also an educator by trade)
  • 1/2 of my $14k / yr property tax goes to public school (as it has for 40+ yrs of property ownership)
  • Tutor public school students (for free, as do my kids and spouse)
  • donate lots of skills and special services to public schools.
poor (USA) public schools... still failing...

When possible, I recommend parents of students in public schools get international jobs, Europe / Singapore preferred (where I am today).

Biggest 'favor' I did for my kids... living internationally as a family during their 'development yrs'

YMMV, most friends thought we were nuts... and we were / are...
Life comes at a price. and our USA Public Schools have a VERY high price, especially to the recipients of their OUTPUT! (or lack there-of)

But definitely DONATE! (I often use my DAF)
The failed USA schools can spend every dime they can get their hands on. :sharebeer
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HomerJ
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by HomerJ »

essbeer wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:17 pm Probably about $2000/year. And we are borderline slackers, lots of parents contribute $10k+ per year. I honestly have no idea where the money goes, but there is a lot of peer pressure from the other parents to contribute. I once mentioned that I found $400 per person for a public school fundraiser party to be elitist and some parents wouldn't talk to me for a month after that. This is in addition to the 100 hours of work a year they want. I just do what I have to do to keep my kids from being socially black-balled.
Wow, where do you live?

Here, in the Midwest, I've raised 3 kids through grades 1-12 (last one is currently in grade 10), and we've never been asked for direct donations. Sure, fund-raisers now and then when they sell candy I guess. But even those were rare, and not every year.

And what do you mean, 100 hours of work a year? What kind of work? We helped carpool the volleyball team once to a remote tournament (our daughter was on the team of course). That's about it.
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HomerJ
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by HomerJ »

daveydoo wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:37 am
littlebird wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:50 pm
Not always or in every place. I can assure you that when I attended NYC public schools in the 1940's and 50's, there was no such thing as fundraising. All our simple needswere fully funded by the taxpayer, and our parents would have been shocked to have been asked for donations for public schools. And so would I have been a couple of decades later, when my kids were in public schools.
The historical data are amusing. "Not back in my day" isn't really germane here. Like how college used to be affordable -- and now it isn't.

In our urban district, the "gravy" of parent donations keeps them from cutting English and Math teachers. It's not for tech upgrades and arts enrichment, etc.
So what happens in the schools without rich parents, and "gravy"? They no longer teach Math?

Seems like people need to be writing their representative, not writing checks to fix the problem just at their school.
littlebird
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by littlebird »

daveydoo wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:37 am
littlebird wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:50 pm
Not always or in every place. I can assure you that when I attended NYC public schools in the 1940's and 50's, there was no such thing as fundraising. All our simple needswere fully funded by the taxpayer, and our parents would have been shocked to have been asked for donations for public schools. And so would I have been a couple of decades later, when my kids were in public schools.
The historical data are amusing. "Not back in my day" isn't really germane here. Like how college used to be affordable -- and now it isn't..
I was responding to a poster who stated that fundraising was "always around" and setting the historical record straight. If someone had stated that college was "always" unaffordable, I would set that record straight too. The knowledge that things weren't always as they are now, and that a different social order once prevailed, has value.
sawhorse
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by sawhorse »

HomerJ wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:22 am
daveydoo wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:37 am
littlebird wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:50 pm
Not always or in every place. I can assure you that when I attended NYC public schools in the 1940's and 50's, there was no such thing as fundraising. All our simple needswere fully funded by the taxpayer, and our parents would have been shocked to have been asked for donations for public schools. And so would I have been a couple of decades later, when my kids were in public schools.
The historical data are amusing. "Not back in my day" isn't really germane here. Like how college used to be affordable -- and now it isn't.

In our urban district, the "gravy" of parent donations keeps them from cutting English and Math teachers. It's not for tech upgrades and arts enrichment, etc.
So what happens in the schools without rich parents, and "gravy"? They no longer teach Math?

Seems like people need to be writing their representative, not writing checks to fix the problem just at their school.
Math is still taught, but other subjects, such as the arts, have been cut. Classrooms don't have proper equipment - not even enough desks at my sister's school so some kids sit on the window sill. There aren't enough desks because they cut the number of teachers and thus had to increase class size to over 30. Teachers spend over $1000 a year of their own money for basic supplies.

A lot of people on this board live in well off areas and don't realize how dire the situation is in some places. Even in well off places, teachers spend a lot of their own money.

The worst part is that the public money might be there, but it's wasted through corruption, paying useless consultants, and other money suckers.

The students and teachers pay the literal price.

The problem definitely is deeper than any donations the parents make, and certainly beyond what the parents should donate.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by remomnyc »

I think our public schools typically target an average of $500/family in donations, knowing that some can't afford anything and others can afford more given the financial diversity of the families. We typically donate $1,500/year/kid to the PTA. It pays for extras, like music, dance and art programs. It subsidizes kids who can't afford school supplies or field trips. It pays for smart boards, libraries, and other items teachers want but school boards can't fund.
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samsoes
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by samsoes »

westrichj312 wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:26 pm Zero also, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of anyone who donates anything to the public school system. I could think of a hundred other places that would be more deserving than that!!! OMG.
Exactly. 67% of my property taxes goes to the school system, largely to pay bloated salaries in the central administration. Don't enable the situation; don't feed the beast.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by dm200 »

remomnyc wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:35 am I think our public schools typically target an average of $500/family in donations, knowing that some can't afford anything and others can afford more given the financial diversity of the families. We typically donate $1,500/year/kid to the PTA. It pays for extras, like music, dance and art programs. It subsidizes kids who can't afford school supplies or field trips. It pays for smart boards, libraries, and other items teachers want but school boards can't fund.
Wow...

What is the (taxpayer paid) per pupil cost in that district?

I have several beefs with public school systems and costs. I will be tarred and feathered by the teacher establishment for this - but I strongly believe in paying more in demand teachers more than those not in demand. The poor teachers and those with a waiting list to get teaching jobs seem to get paid just as much as the excellent ones and those in very high demand.

To be fair, thugh, to the public schools, there are many types of students and programs that are very expensive to run (some kinds of special education, for example) and generally private/non-public schools do not generally serve that population.

In our state, Virginia, there is a great disparity of the funding of public schools from very high (where we live) to very low (rural, poverty areas). The lower funding is much lower than just the lower cost of living justifies.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by mmmodem »

We contribute in the fundraisers, a-thons, box tops, etc. We've never been asked for direct donations. I do draw the line at the"world's finest chocolate" and the catalog orders. Too large of a percentage of the money goes to the company running these programs instead of the school. We also participate in smile.amazon.com.

Altogether, I estimate we give to the school $200 a year.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by essbeer »

HomerJ wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:18 am
essbeer wrote: Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:17 pm Probably about $2000/year. And we are borderline slackers, lots of parents contribute $10k+ per year. I honestly have no idea where the money goes, but there is a lot of peer pressure from the other parents to contribute. I once mentioned that I found $400 per person for a public school fundraiser party to be elitist and some parents wouldn't talk to me for a month after that. This is in addition to the 100 hours of work a year they want. I just do what I have to do to keep my kids from being socially black-balled.
Wow, where do you live?

Here, in the Midwest, I've raised 3 kids through grades 1-12 (last one is currently in grade 10), and we've never been asked for direct donations. Sure, fund-raisers now and then when they sell candy I guess. But even those were rare, and not every year.

And what do you mean, 100 hours of work a year? What kind of work? We helped carpool the volleyball team once to a remote tournament (our daughter was on the team of course). That's about it.
Central Houston and I don't want to make it sounds like I'm complaining, it's great and all, but I was just surprised by what level of parent contribution was expected at a public school. They send out a request for money during the first month and they keep a chart in front of the school showing what the current shortfall of expected funding is. The money goes to the PTO (which as far as I can tell is all P and no T.) The PTO keeps track of which classes are contributing the right amount and which aren't, and there are special perks for the classes of big contributors. There are "naming opportunities" at the school, sponsoring of events and special plaques, I think the right to name a school bird house went for $500 recently. I have no proof that this is actually true, but there are plenty of parents who believe that their contributions get their children into the classes of the top teachers. There is a tremendous amount of deference shown to the "active" parents by the school staff and our children get special attention that you can't help but notice. And, of course, the good parents know who the other good parents are and who the deadbeats are. You notice who gets invited to birthday parties.

Parents can basically be indistinguishable from employees at the school. There are plenty of parents who spend hours every single day volunteering at the school. Parent's do the paper work, monitor the lunchroom, assist in the classes themselves. There are art assistant and music assistants and library assistants, etc. If a teacher needs supplies a parent will be assigned to go get them (and pay for them of course.) There are monthly events at the school where parents do absolutely everything from setup to cleanup. The dad's group does maintenance and repairs. We even go to teacher's homes if they need something fixed. It's all self-policed by the parents, but if you want to be in the clique you better show up.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by miamivice »

Keep in mind something.

You may run into a lot of people who proudly announce that they donate to the school. You may get the impression that everyone (or if not everyone, a lot of folks) donate to the school. But unless you are the treasurer who accepts the checks, you really have no idea how much the school receives in donations.

Yup, I'm saying that there are folks out there who proudly proclaim on social media, or to family/friends, etc, that they donate to the schools who actually never quite getting around to writing the check.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by stoptothink »

miamivice wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:52 am Keep in mind something.

You may run into a lot of people who proudly announce that they donate to the school. You may get the impression that everyone (or if not everyone, a lot of folks) donate to the school. But unless you are the treasurer who accepts the checks, you really have no idea how much the school receives in donations.

Yup, I'm saying that there are folks out there who proudly proclaim on social media, or to family/friends, etc, that they donate to the schools who actually never quite getting around to writing the check.
Totally agree. As for us, $0 and nobody is going to make me feel guilty about it and I'll laugh if somebody attempts to peer pressure me into ponying up. We pay plenty in taxes and most of the research has found little (if any) correlation between how much is spent per pupil and education outcomes. A school or district with more funding isn't necessarily going to offer my children a better education or "experience". With several teachers in my family, I do feel badly for them because they often don't have the resources they need, but funding isn't the issue for most of our schools, it is how those resources are allocated. I'll toss the papers asking for donations, but we are the first parents to offer to volunteer. I believe my daughter's school asks that the parents of every child be willing to volunteer 40hrs total for the school year and my wife and I have more than doubled that already this year.
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Re: Donations to your enrolled public school

Post by staythecourse »

Personally, we do give to our public school. It is usually around a 2-5k. We do it as it helps the kids DIRECT. We do it as we have the financial resources to do it. We do it as we KNOW there are folks who CAN'T afford to donate so we are happy to compensate.

Funny thing, in our area the private schools ask A LOT more in "donation" on top of the high cost of tuition. So "donation" to elementary schools seems to be the new "normal".

Good luck.
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