Here’s a blurb about school fundraising that just came into my email. I would extend the argument made in the article below about equitable funding within a district to equity across the state. Tax dollars, allocated equally on a per student basis across the state, should fund an equitable public education for all. Local bonds, parcel taxes, and foundations create a 2 tiered system that provides higher income areas with more resources to backfilled decreased government funding while at the same time continues to let the public off the hook (i.e. more tax cuts) for funding public schools – which then hurts low income areas even more. It’s a negative reinforcing cycle that allows for more and more tax cut driven decreased public school funding. The people with the time and money to focus on education should be focused on education for all children, not on bake sale fundraisers for just their kids in their schools or even just their district. Every check we write to our local foundation takes tax money away from a school somewhere else in the state because it lets the public off the hook for funding all our schools. Isn’t there an innate and obvious hypocrisy in allowing “Private” foundations to fund “Public” schools? Should they even be allowed? Doesn’t funding your child’s school through a foundation go against the private inurement limitations on Public Benefit Nonprofits?
Tax-based school funding is like funding highways and police; it creates a system of common wealth to fund common services. Education lays the foundation for an informed citizenry; civic engagement & volunteerism; caring thoughtful neighbors that support and help one another; healthy life choices that decrease the cost of public services; and economic strength. The Return on Investment (ROI) is huge! Underinvesting is short sighted and will have disastrous consequences such as further expanding the wealth divide, between the 1% and the 99%, and increasing the demand for other kinds of expensive last resort, “safety net” public services (like jails and emergency rooms).
From the Nonprofit Newswire . . .
November 29, 2011; Santa Monica Daily Press | School districts find themselves less and less able to cover their budgets just with tax dollars but if parents fundraise for individual schools, kids in schools with higher income parents will get more resources. In Santa Monica/Malibu the school district has put its foot down and all fundraising for staff will go into a central pool.