If I told you how much we had to pay in property tax last year you would probably gasp. I know I did. I also nearly cried when I wrote the check. I am grateful we could cover it. But still…. it hurt.
Much of that check went to the public school district where my son now attends kindergarten. “Well at least we don’t have to cover private school tuition,” we thought. School was covered by the property tax.
But not really. We soon discovered that because of the “Robin Hood Act” in our state , 70 percent of the district’s tax dollars actually end up in other schools. That leaves parents to cover the rest. And thus the fundraising has begun.
Every school does this. You probably did it too. As a kid, I hocked candy, books, popcorn, ornaments and other crap to my neighbors and relatives. My next door neighbor, Mr. Hamburger, never failed to contribute. He even forgave me the time I collected his money and forgot to turn in his order. I got into BIG trouble with my parents. (I had to work for the money to pay him back)
I can now add wrapping paper saleswoman to my list of items. Our first fundraiser is to sell wrapping paper. There’s also something call “Scot Bucks.” But I haven’t figured out what those are yet. It sounds like Monopoly money to me.
I’ve also purchased fundraising goods such as bumper stickers, yard signs and t-shirts. In November, the parents will hold fundraising auction. They’re asking for donations from $500 to $10,000 or more. GULP!
Yes, we live in a highly ranked, highly desirable school district, but our school will not get many of the basic teaching tools unless parents pay for them. The same parents who’ve already paid a fortune in property tax.
The fundraising efforts of mom’s and dad’s help pay for supplemental teacher salaries, all technology needs, sports equipment, school supplies, art and music programs, and facility upkeep.
The elementary school is in an old charming building in the middle of the neighborhood. But the community has outgrown it. So many of the classes are held in portable buildings. Our tax money will not be used to add much needed extra space. Parents are raising money for that too.
We feel grateful and fortunate to live in such a great community so I don’t want to complain, but I do see a potential problem. We’re in a recession. So many parents will not be able to pitch in financially this year or next. I don’t think this will send our wonderful school into ruin. But it could affect what new teaching tools could be purchased for our kids in the future.
But it is what it is. And whining won’t solve the problem. So I guess I better dust off my sales skills and get selling.
Wrapping paper anyone?