Motivated by General Geekery

School Fundraising

Written By: der5er - Nov• 13•06

Two recent Letters to the Editor of the Chesterfield Observer and the recent PTA budget meeting have gotten me thinking. Does the PTA have a clue how to raise money? Does the PTA, or the school itself, realize how much money is asked from the parent’s pockets? Do the county supervisors (or whomever is in charge of budgeting for the schools) have any idea how money is spent at local schools?

The two letters to the editor spoke about how much money is asked from parents in the first few weeks of school. Most of these items are optional, school pictures, PTA Dues, fundraisers, book fair, yearbooks. But this is all on top of the money we’ve just spent on school supplies for our kids and any wish lists the teachers had for us. That’s right, the teachers don’t get enough money to fully supply the classroom and post wish lists that they hope the parents will purchase for the whole class. And all at a time when many families are beginning thier budget or even their shopping for Christmas!
Then, at the PTA meeting they showed us the proposed budget for next year along side the budget for last year. I was astounded to see that the fundraiser didn’t make any money last year…it actually cost the PTA money for the kids to participate! The book fair didn’t perform much better, making very little if any. I don’t have the actual figures to point to, because I didn’t think I would get fired up enough to write about it. So, if anyone has the figures for me, comment here, and send them to me.

Now, I don’t pretend to think this is just a Swift Creek Elementary issue. I don’t even think it’s just a Chesterfield County or Virginia issue. I know when we lived in California, that we faced many of the same requests for money from the schools and PTA at the beginning of the year. It just baffles me that this goes on. Maybe the PTA would make a little more on existing fundraisers if they did this in the spring. Maybe there are answers I’m not thinking of, let me know.

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  1. Andrea Epps says:

    Hi Greg.
    Our fall fundraiser raised a lot of money. When I dig up a copy of last years budget, I’ll send you the figures*. All of the programs and activities that are funded for the first half of the school year are dependent on those funds. The carryover funds are usually depleted by November. I understand firsthand how difficult it is when these things all hit the pocket at once. However, there are some expenses that are school related and some that are PTA related.
    Personally, I believe the programs and activities offered give far more than they take. The family and educational programs are evident, but there are other things we do as well. As an example, We all know our teachers aren’t compensated properly for what they do. SCES has some of the best teachers anywhere. Mrs. Tavenner won the REB award for excellence last year. Our PTA has, for as long as I remember, gone above what the county does for our teachers. We want them to stay at SCES instead of leaving for another locality that pays more. I admit I am a little biased on this issue, but I think SCES is as good as any other school, public or private. In that light, It isn’t that expensive.
    History has proven that PTA related fundraisers are not as effective in the spring. We have done both, and it is true. The state and National PTA are really particular about how much money is raised and what is done with it. The reporting requirements for 501C3 are as well.
    As for the County, I will reserve comment, I can’t type that much.
    I hope this helps a little. I need to find some time to create another post as well.
    Thanks for the email.

    Andrea Epps

    *Found the figures- 05/06 Fall Fundraiser SCES PTA
    Gross income: $19,567.63
    Paid Out: $ 9528.02
    Net Income: $10,039.61

  2. der5er says:

    And that’s why I’m not an accountant!

    Andrea Epps commented on my recent post regarding school fundraisers to point out that I was wrong about the fundraiser not making any money. Ms. Epps is the former PTA President at my kids’ school, so she should know. This…

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