Donating Money to Public Schools
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- I want to donate to an underserved school in Oakland or Richmond
- What is a fair amount to contribute to public school?
I've been inspired by all the HONY donations to Mott Bridges Academy, but would prefer to make a local donation. Can anyone recommend a school in Oakland or Richmond with an administration or PTA that's doing really great work? I'm sure just about any school meets this criteria but it'd be nice to have a little background rather than blindly writing a check. I am not talking huge sums - a few hundred dollars but I will likely continue donating each year. My kid also recently graduated and it makes sense to me to switch the dollars that were going to my very well served public school to one that is less so. Many thanks anon
I would humbly suggest Fairmont School (in El Cerrito, although its boundary includes more Richmond neighborhoods), part of the WCCUSD. Fairmont's kids are 2/3rds free and reduced lunch, high by many standards but not the WCCUSD's, thus we don't get the ''extra'' federal Title 1 money and other extra resources through the district, but our PTA does not have anywhere near the resources of the other elementary schools in El Cerrito/Kensington. The PTA is small but devoted, funding music education, PE, bonus science activities, and starting this year, environmental camp for 5th graders. Check us out! http://fairmontschool.org/ Thanks for your commitment to public education. Fairmont mom
- Art in the Classroom: The PTA pays for an onsite Art instructor to come once per month for students in grades K-3. Parent donations never cover the full cost of this program, but because we believe art is a critical part of a child's education, we have continued to fund it for the last 5 years.
- STEM Club: Students from K through 8th grade study science, technology, engineering and math concepts at this after school club. It is entirely volunteer run (parents and a couple very hard working teachers who run this program on their own time) and provided to all students at no cost. This year we have over 50 students participating.
- Glee Club: The PTA contracts with Oakland Youth Chorus to provide after school choir. This program is open to students in 1st through 8th grades and is partially funded through parent donations.
- Pajama Party & Book Exchange: The Pajama Party is a free literacy event open to the entire school. Thousands of free books are available for students and their families to claim and take home. Parents, older students and teachers all gather to read bedtime stories to the younger students and encourage a love of reading. If you are interested in seeing the Mira Vista community in action, feel free to attend. The Pajama Party is happening this year on Thursday, February 26th from 6:00-8:00 pm.
- School Gardens: Mira Vista has two working school gardens (one for the lower grades and one for the upper grades) and an Urban Agriculture elective for the upper grades. The gardens are a great opportunity for students to get out of the classroom and learn about ecology, agriculture and how to grow their own food. The gardens are maintained year round by parent volunteers.
- The PTA also provides funding for field trips and classroom supplies and organizes community events like our Multi-Cultural Potluck.
- The school Administration is also working hard to create a vibrant and positive school culture using Restorative Justice practices.
Having the additional support of individuals outside of our neighborhood would mean the world to all of us! Learn more about us at: www.miravistaschool.com Mira Vista Parent
Why not try Donors Choose? http://www.donorschoose.org/ Tons of needing projects. Just type in the town or zip code and you are on your way. Thank you in advance!!!!
I hope you will consider Mira Vista K-8 School in Richmond for your donation. We are a gem of a school that hasn't received the same attention or resources as some of the other nearby schools, yet we are building a community of engaged students, committed parents, and dedicated faculty. Your donation would go to a local public school that is helping to bridge achievement gaps. We have an active PTA that is funding enrichment, including art, STEM club and gardens, but there is so much more that could be done with your support. We would like to be able to fund professional art instruction for more students, more often, for example. We are also in constant need of playground and PE equipment. Thank you for supporting the public schools! You can visit our website at: miravistaschool.com Victoria
I would recommend donating to Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA), a public 6th - 12 grade school in the heart of the killing zone of Oakland at 66th and E 14th. Principal Amy Carozza is doing amazing things with her kids, and she has great integrity. Knows Oakland
My daughter is currently attending a public elementary school in Oakland. The other day she came home with a survey from the parent-faculty club asking for parental input regarding budgeting issues. There was a list of about 15 different programs currently funded with PFC money. But due to an expected shortfall of $35,000 for next year, parents were asked to prioritize the programs and make recommendations for cuts. In order to fund all the seemingly worthwhile programs (e.g., music, art, motor, etc.) each family would need to contribute $315 per child per year rather than the $195 now set as the upper limit.
To me it would seem totally reasonable to ask people to pay $315 a year as it would only be about $30-40 a month. Compared to private school tuition or even what I paid for preschool, this is nothing! I would like to hear from other parents what their schools set as a suggested family donation. How much money do people think is a fair amount? What ideas do people have for encouraging families to pay the full amount? I know we all pay taxes and it would be wonderful if schools actually provided all the essentials that are currently considered options. But that's not the case. Given the state of public education in California, what do others think?
I struggle with this issue since there is a wide variance on how much an individual family can *afford* to donate to the schools. $35 a month isn't much to me, but to a single working mom, it may be a *huge* amount. And I wouldn't want anyone to feel badly because they can't contribute. I see why the fundraising is done the way it is done (selling stuff, getting contributions for walkathons etc) although it can be annoying. I am frustrated that the public schools, particularly in Oakland, have so few resources to go around. What is this not having PE or Music, or Art? I can't imagine grammar school without these kinds of classes being available routinely.
The elementary school my children attend asks for annual donations but does not specify or demand a fixed dollar amount. Some years they have suggested $100 per family. They do other fund raising during the year focused around events (i.e. carnivals, auctions, candy sales and garage sales) and these activities generate more money than does the direct appeal. The teachers also request that parents buy materials for their children to be used in the classroom (pens, pencils, crayons and glue) and make additional wish list requests as well. As a single mother and sole supporter of my family, I personally have found it diffiuclt or impossible some years to even donate $100. While I agree in theory that $300 isn't too much to ask for in terms of paying for an education, I think that in reality $300+ per year is a lot to expect from all parents.
We are also in the Oakland School district, but our parent-teacher group does most of its fund-raising with school activities, like the walkathon, which is really successful. I remember one letter asking for a donation, but it was so low-key, I can't imagine a lot of people giving more than $50, and nobody was asked to prioritize for the budget. If I'm wrong about this, can a Peralta parent please correct me? (I do remember the Oakland school district management sending out a letter asking for parent input (to a sample of parents) about budget priorities, and honestly I thought it wasn't fair, because I very well might have answered it differently if I had more information about the issues. But getting the information would have been a major undertaking, and I couldn't take it on.)