Why invest in your child
We designed this FAQ so that everyone can understand why we need fundraising at our school. We respectfully urge all parents to take the time to read through this FAQ.
Why do we need fundraising, is the school having financial trouble?
There has always been a gap between what the Department of Education provides and what parents additionally con- tribute to enrich to their schools. After the '07-'09 recession, the gap severely widened. Schools nationwide had their budgets cut drastically, and those funds have not been restored. Now, more than ever, "the quality of education -from extra teachers to after-school programs- often comes down to the depth of parent's pockets." – Daily News.
That is, schools with strong PTAs and deep parent pockets can raise money on their own to bridge the gap. Other schools, not so much. We are fortunate that –so far- our school has been able to raise enough funds, buffering us from the hard choices that other schools have had to make, which is to cut teachers and enrichment programs.
Is there a connection between enrichment programs and student performance?
According to Marcus Liem, a Department of Education spokesman, "Parents are critical partners, and when they are actively involved in the school, everyone benefits. Foremost, students excel.” It is no accident that schools such as P.S. 234 in Tribeca, P.S. 87 on the UWS and P.S.
6 on the UES which raise ~1MM in PTA funds every year are two three of the top performing schools in NYC. These schools are in some of the city's wealthiest ZIP codes, and their students typically garner top scores on statewide exams. Parents at these schools automatically make their annual contributions because they understand that they must if they want to maintain the outstanding quality of their children's education. We are a relatively new school and we can learn from these established top-performing schools how to achieve the same for our children.
Why is teacher training so important?
To quote a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released in January of this year, "Research suggests that teacher quality is the most important school-based determinant of student success. Recruiting, developing, and retaining high-quality teachers are therefore essential to improving student achievement." Nico Victorino, our beloved Middle School Assistant Principal, strongly agrees. "The research clearly shows that if we want the best outcomes for our students (solid literacy and math skills, excellent test scores which lead to placement at top High Schools, well developed emotional intelligence, etc.), the best way to accomplish that is via ongoing teacher training."
What do the PTA funds pay for besides teacher training?
As stated above, the funds are used to fill the glaring gap left by Department of Education budget cuts. The following programs are fully funded by Invest In Your Child (our PTA fundraising campaign), and we can’t imagine our school without them:
• Teacher Training, Band, Music programs and supplies, Spanish programs and supplies, Math coaches, Chess, Writopia, Art materials, PE and OT equipment, Classroom Libraries, Leadership and Public speaking, Trip Scholarships, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Center for Architecture, and more.
This list is impressive, but we can do better. Here are some additional programs we’d love to fund, which are at the top of Nico’s Middle School wish list:
• Leadership and Public Speaking - critical for panel interviews that are part of High School applications
• Additional Gym Coaches to enhance our already reputable Sports Program
• A full time resource dedicated to helping students navigate the difficult HS admissions process and build College & Career readiness
What happens if we don't reach our goal?
We cut programs. It's as simple as that. And if we don't increase contributions, we can't build further to best prepare our children to secure placements at top High Schools and leave P.S./I.S. 276 ready for the rigors of High School and College.
What if I can't give that much?
Give what you can. Please don't assume others will cover for you, or that a small contribution won't matter. It all matters. And for those who truly can't afford $875/year, hopefully others will be able to give more.
Is my contribution tax deductible?
Yes, the PTA is a 501c3, so it is tax deductible as well as eligible for company matching gift programs. If your company has such a program but doesn't currently list our PTA as a grantee, it's easy to get us added. Just contact the firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you want us to take away from this FAQ, aside from the need to contribute annually to Invest In Your Child?
We want you to feel lucky, because you are! Our school has the best return on investment in the city, which is why our waitlist grows every year. For a mere $875 in ‘tuition’ your child attends one of Manhattan’s top schools. If you lived in a suburb with a top school, you’d pay a great deal more in property taxes to fund your school and you’d still be approached for contributions by the PTA. And if you sent your child to a top Manhattan private school, you’d pay an average of $40k/year and even still be approached for contributions by the parent committee.