Do PTA donations cause inequality in schools?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Do PTA donations cause inequality in schools?
5
Tue, 02-07-2012 - 7:39pm

I have a lot of thoughts on this but need to get them organized first! :smileytongue:

As parents raise cash, schools confront big gap
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017363624_ptafunding29m.html

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Tue, 02-07-2012 - 8:07pm

I guess my most basic reaction is that the disparity is unfortunate, but not unfair. It's maddening, really. It's sad. It makes me angry that not every child in the US has the opportunity that my kids have. In no way is that the fault of PTA fundraising though.

DH has taught at some of the poorest inner-city schools over the last 8 years, so he has experienced first hand the PTAs that raise no money at all, but those are also the schools with little to no parental involvement at home or in school. This year he is teaching at a school with the same demographic, only they received money to buy the fancy things like iPads for every child. He'll tell you that it hasn't helped one bit because there is still no involvement or support from the parents. There's much more to an education than money.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Wed, 02-08-2012 - 11:03am
When we were in CA, my daughter attended one of the two "better" elementary schools in the district. The parents did raise something like $20,000 a year at annual auctions, door to door sales and such. However, the district also took that into account when funding, and cut their funding by that much.

In our school, parents were expected to drive kids to field trips. In the other schools they had buses take them. Now, the "poor" school were primarily immigrant workers or working families where both parents worked. Our school had more professionals and tended to have a parent who could stay home or take time off work to do things with the school.

Personally, I would have paid extra for school buses for trips. Parents tended to drive like maniacs to get the kids back to school in time to get the bus. After the first couple I designated parents who could drive my daughter and told them I could pick her up at the school if needed, if she missed the bus. Mostly, I drove her and took my sons along or got a sitter for them.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Wed, 02-08-2012 - 11:35am

Kellie, I agree with you on this one.

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc248/gwennyc/b6yfcl.png<A href="http://s218.photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Thu, 02-09-2012 - 6:53am

We are a title 1 school, its the way our schools are set up. Its school "choice" but there is a theory that some kids are assigned certain schools to keep all title 1. By being title 1 we get additional federal funds so that helps strech state and city funds. What the PTO raises is completely seperate and is mostly used for things like field trips, school dances, the 8th grade year book and a end of the year teacher luncheon. The goal is $1000 for each grade level (so $9000 min) then the extra goes to the 8th grade stuff and the teachers. I know not all of the kids participate but even if its just DH and I getting something off the fundraiser then its still money that will go towards his field trip. I know some parents don't care for them but the way I look at it I can pay $15 a piece for some yummy coffee cakes and pay under $10 for Liam field trip this spring or I don't buy anything and if everyone has that theory then I end up paying a lot more for that field trip and well whats in that for me ;) Liam just want the prizes and they are always so much junk wish I could explain the prize is your field trip because truth is without that $1000 from PTO they may not have enough kids who can afford to go. Think over the last 3 years I have spent a total of $15 on field trips combined and even when they have to charge they do say if you can afford so other parents often kick in a little extra.

Aside from catalog fundraiser we do a cookout, halloween party and ice cream social. We get a lot of food and services donated from local businesses so the majority of the ticket price goes to the PTO. Last year we did a stuff and fluff and this year they did a something in connection with a local restrurant where they paid 10% of all sales that night to the PTO. So PTO is getting creative partly because theh economny has hit our town pretty hard and cost of things keep going up so if they want to keep cost down for field trips they are looking different ideas that don't turn parents off.

Now we don't choose where the money goes it has long ago been decided this is the goal of the pto for the field trip, grad class stuff and teachers but because of the title 1 funding we are getting money from other courses for classroom/school related so the PTO is solely for the fun part of school.

One thing that I have noticed is while I live in a title 1 school district we are still very diverse as far as income. I work with people who that isn't really the case and closer to half or more of the kids are under poverty level and I do notice their fundraisers are much different. For valentines day they did chocolate rose lolli pops for $1 a peice. Thats not bad, winning class gets a party...hmmm ok thats rotten for the lossing classes. We got our winter fundraiser yesterday its our coffee cakes $10 to $17 depending on what you order.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Thu, 02-09-2012 - 9:27pm
I refuse to spend money on the coffee cakes and wrapping paper any more. When only 30 cents of each dollar goes to the school after all the effort the kids and parents put in it, well, I just give the price of the item (or more than one) and tell them it is a donation to the school, straight up. That way every cent goes to the school. (We don't really need overpriced goodies anyhow.)