Not only does Brooklyn School of Inquiry (BSI) top the city in test scores, but the Gifted & Talented elementary school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is raking it in when it comes to fundraising dollars.
According to a recent New York Daily News article – part of a series highlighting disparities between New York City public schools – BSI’s PTO raised $556,000 in 2014:
At the Brooklyn School of Inquiry, a citywide school for the gifted and talented, the parent-teacher organization raised $556,000 last year through direct appeals, bake sales and other programs. That allowed the organization to spend an estimated $2,077 per student, among the highest in the city, the Daily News found in an analysis of parent fund-raising data provided by city Department of Education.
According to the PTO’s website, the funds have gone towards arts, science, and chess programs – enrichment programs they say are necessary to meet the unique needs of the school’s gifted children. The funds raised also pay the salaries of three extra teachers, including a science coach, a library and technology teacher, and a math co-teacher. By contrast, PTOs at other schools mentioned in the article have raised just enough funds to cover the children’s uniforms, or none at all.
The suggested yearly contribution for parents at BSI is $1,500 per child, according to the website, and some parents tell us that, while they are grateful for the additional services, the PTO’s aggressive fundraising campaigns can be frustrating – particularly if they have more than one child at the school. Considering 20 percent of BSI students are eligible for free lunches, is it fair to expect all parents to contribute $1,500? And what does it feel like for those parents to be inundated with fliers about bake sales, auctions, iceskating socials, and direct appeals?
We’d like to get a sense of the fundraising cultures at other District 20 and District 21 elementary schools. How much are you expected to contribute to your child’s parent teacher organization? What can you afford to give? Do you feel like the funds collected translate into better services for your child(ren)? How often do your kids come home with fundraising fliers?
If you have a minute, we’d love it if you could share your thoughts. You can comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.