Some school PTAs add hundreds of dollars per student
Part of a special report on education inequality in San Francisco. A version of this story ran in the winter 2014 print edition.
The San Francisco Unified School District aims to spend its funds equitably, not necessarily equally. That means giving more to schools with the highest needs, based on a complex formula. But in the past decade, parents at some schools have developed sophisticated fundraising operations to make up for years of tight districtwide budgets. The result: parents at a few schools are able to significantly supplement their children’s education, while most are not.
By the Numbers:
SFUSD Parent Fundraising
$113 million The shortfall the San Francisco Unified School District faced in 2009-2010, the worst of five straight years of cuts. The gap between the district’s projected needs and the final budget last school year was only $13 million.
800% The increase between 2002 and 2011 in spending by elementary school parent-teacher associations, to make up budget cuts. In 2011 the PTAs spent a total of $5.32 million.
$2,770,158 Total PTA fundraising in 2011 by the top 10 elementary schools. That was about half of what all 71 elementary school PTAs in the district took in.
63% Portion of San Francisco elementary school students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
5 The number of schools where more than four-fifths of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch in 2000.
18 The number of schools where more than four-fifths of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch in 2012.
$42,643 The maximum income a family of four can earn to qualify for reduced-price lunch in California. (To qualify for free lunch, that family must earn less than $29,965.)
$47,340 The average annual rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco ($12,000 more than it was at the beginning of 2013).