What is the Richmond Foundation?
The Richmond School Foundation (RSF) is the parent group at Richmond, which raises funds to support teaching and staff positions at our school. In the Portland Public Schools District, only a school's Foundation can raise money specifically for teaching and staff positions. We organize fundraisers, promote the RSF, and work with Richmond's other parent organizations - (Site Council, PTA and Oya No Kai) for the same goal of an excellent education for our children at Richmond. RSF is a non-profit organization and donations to RSF are tax deductible.
What is the Richmond School Foundation's mission statement?
The Richmond School Foundation’s sole mission is to raise funds for staff positions at our school: to help sustain Richmond’s dual-immersion model, to promote academic achievement, to enhance English and Japanese classroom support and to increase the diversity of enrichment activities at Richmond. Together we can do it! Issho ni gambarou!
What is the Portland Schools Foundation?
The Portland Schools Foundation was created about 15 years ago after ballot measures were passed by Oregonians limiting property taxes increases for school funding and taking local control of school funding away from school districts by having all taxes for school funding go to the state. The state now uses formulas to "equalize" school funding across all regions of the state. However Portland, with more people and property than rural areas of Oregon, had a net loss of funds due to these measures.
At the same time these measures were passed, the state gave school districts the ability to create "foundations" which could raise money to enrich teachers and staff in the district above that provided by the state. The Portland Schools Foundation is the name of the foundation in Portland. It is not part of Portland Public Schools. It is an independent non-profit organization.
What is the relationship between the Portland School Foundation and Richmond School Foundation?
Every school in Portland has its own local school foundation which operates under the umbrella of the Portland Schools Foundation. It acts as a umbrella organization for each local school's foundation allowing us to raise money ourselves for staff at our school. We operate under the protection of Portland Schools Foundation - they allow us to use their non-profit status, they hold our funds and do accounting for us and they send out letters for each donation for tax purposes.
How does funding for staffing help my child at Richmond?
Funding for any staff helps all children at Richmond as funds spent on, for example a fifth grade teacher, save money that can, in turn, be used to make sure there are four teachers in kindergarten. To date, donations by parents to Richmond School Foundation have been used for specific positions (see question #11). In doing so, all children at Richmond benefit by:
Increasing students' reading abilities by providing more teacher time spent with students as reading specialist can concentrate on student at one reading level and the classroom teacher can then concentrate on other students at different reading levels.
Expanding enrichment programs which include a reading specialist, cultural activities, gym, library...even art and music can be added if we continue to increase RSF donations.
What have our teachers said about the importance of parent support for staffing at Richmond?
Richmond Foundation funds support enrichment activities: "Strong enrichment activities have been helping my students to build more confidence in the areas I cannot provide enough instruction in class."
Richmond Foundation funds help teachers teach: "I really appreciate what the Richmond School Foundation has done for us. I know that without parents' help and involvement, this program would not be as successful as it has been."
Why should we contribute to the Richmond Foundation? Shouldn't Portland Public Schools or the state being doing this?
Portland Public Schools (PPS) only gives schools enough funds to create an "average" scholastic experience. But at Richmond JMP, we strive to maintain an "exceptional" program. To do so, we all need to give extra in order to get extra for our children. Together, we can keep Richmond the best educational experience in Portland and continue to give our children a culturally enriching and broad-based education.
How does the Richmond Parent Pledge Drive work?
The main fundraiser for the Richmond School Foundation is the Parent Pledge Drive. It works by everyone doing his/her part...everyone doing a small part leads to great things. And we are all in this together. As in past years, we ask that all families, in pre-K thru 5th grade, contribute a month of kindergarten tuition, twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. It is $350 this year. Some families prefer to contribute all at once ($700) while other families make monthly donations ($70). As always...any amount, no matter how large or small, is another step toward a better education for our children.
The Parent Pledge drive attempts to make giving easy as well. Many parent have asked, "Can't I just write one check and be done?" We try to make it this easy for you.
Make giving easy - just write a check, no need to buy or sell anything.
Make giving consistent - contribute once in the Fall and once in the Spring, that's it.
Make giving manageable - we ask every family who can to contribute $350, which is the amount of monthly kindergarten tuition - if these families can pay this amount every month, it seems manageable to ask everyone to consider donating this same amount just twice over the entire school year. And your donation is 100% tax-deductible.
Make giving accessible - contribute online or set up a monthly contribution (question #17) for $70/month.
Make giving participation matter: While the suggested donation is $350, if this amount does not work for your family, any amount, no matter how large or small, makes a difference. Many gifts each year are above and below the suggested amount.
Make giving matter - every dollar contributed goes to staffing.
Why do we ask for the equivalent of one month's of K tuition twice a year per family?
Since we all paid kindergarten tuition every month for each of our own kindergarteners when they were in that grade, it seems a reasonable and affordable sum to ask of our families that we all give at least one month's kindergarten tuition just twice-a-year. This year's tuition is $350.
K TUITION AMOUNT: For families in grades 1-5, who now have no tuition, it seems reasonable to contribute the equivalent of one month's K tuition twice a year. For families in kindergarten, there is no tuition payment in June. So, extending and paying this one June "tuition payment" to the Richmond School Foundation seems reasonable. If every family contributed this amount even just once, we would achieve a minimum of approximately $200,000. It all adds up quickly when everyone participates. And remember, any gift, no matter how big or small, does make a difference — it really does.
TWICE A YEAR: District funding is unreliable and unpredictable. By giving early in the school year, funds for extra staff can be counted on by our principal to proactively plan the best education for our children...instead of having to react retrospectively to crisis after crisis. In addition, making semi-annual donation to the RSF avoids the end-of-the-year crisis in funding this or that position. Wouldn't it be nice not to have to worry by having financial support that can be counted on by earlier and consistent donating?
What is the Equity Fund and what is the deal with "one third" of my donation going to the Portland School Foundation?
All money raised by the local foundations goes directly to funding staff and teachers in schools. However, the Portland School Foundation is set up so that the first $10,000 a local school raises goes directly back to the school. After that, further money raised is split, with 1/3 going to the Portland Foundation's general fund and 2/3 going directly back to the school. This "split" was set up so that schools in less financially-advantaged areas -- who have a more difficult time raising donations -- have an opportunity to receive money through grants from the general Portland Foundation's general funds. In many ways, this is the most generous system in the state. In many other districts, foundations' contributed funds are all pooled by their school district and all of it spread across the entire district; in Portland, the majority we raise goes directly to our own school. Some other districts do not allow foundation monies to be used for staff but only for capital projects. Finally, the Equity Fund in Portland is all given back to schools each year and all schools may apply for grants from the fund, although in general schools with the lowest local resources receive most grants. However, Richmond has received some of these grants in the past.
What specific staffing positions has the Richmond School Foundation's fundraising supported for this year?
Donations in one year are used the following year to pay for extra staff positions. Over the last three years, your donations to the Parent Pledge Drive have funded the following positions:
What positions are we raising money for this year?
In the fall, it is difficult to know what our exact needs for the next school year will be. In late February, the Portland Public Schools budget for the following year is finalized and staffing levels for each school clarified. So in the fall, we fundraise for staffing in general, knowing we always need to fund at least one extra staff position. In the spring, the fundraising can be more specific, and we can tell you which positions(s) exactly are being fundraised for. But really, no matter what specific position we end up fundraising for, whether it is a first or fifth grade teacher, funding one position allows all the other positions in the school to remain filled — so every donation really helps every student in every class.
Who decides what positions the foundation's donations will fund?
The Richmond Site Council, which is a Portland Public Schools-mandated committee that each school has, recommends what positions a school's foundation funds should be used for. The committee is made up of the principal, teachers and parents. The final decision is up to the school's principal, using the Site Council's recommendations for guidance.
What are the economics of staff funding? How much does a teacher "cost"? What is an "FTE"?
The Portland Public School fundraising unit is an "FTE"--administration speak for a teacher or staff member. It means "Full-Time Equivalent." And from here, it gets more confusing as some positions "cost" a full FTE for a full-time position while others "cost" half an FTE for a full-time position: full-time certified staff (classroom teacher, gym teacher, principal) "cost" 1.0 FTE; full-time classified staff (librarian, secretary) "cost" 0.5 FTE.
One "FTE" costs, on average, $100,000 to a school foundation. Why $100,000? It is only $48,000 for the average teacher salary but $19,000 more for benefits and $33,000 to the Portland School Foundation "Equity Fund." This fund was created by the Portland School Board as part of the process of allowing parents at individual schools to raise money for staffing. This fund is given back each year from the Portland School Foundation to schools without the economic ability to raise any funds for extra staff. So, to raise funds for full-time teacher (1.0 FTE) costs $100,000, for a full-time librarian (0.50 FTE) $50,000, and for 0.25 FTE costs $25,000, and 0.33, and so on.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
Please feel free to contact any Richmond Foundation member with questions. We also have regular meetings where everyone is welcome to attend. Look for times and dates in the Shinbun or school bulletin boards. This year, we plan to meet the third Monday evening of every month in the Richmond Staff Room. Anyone is welcome to join the Richmond School Foundation. Any of the current members are happy to answer any of your questions.
How do I make a contribution to the Richmond Foundation?
There are multiple ways to make a donation; hopefully one of these methods works for you. All donations are tax-deductible. PLEASE MAKE SURE ON ANY DONATION THAT YOU CLEARLY STATE IT IS FOR THE RICHMOND SCHOOL FOUNDATION SO YOU CAN BE CERTAIN THE MONEY GOES TO RICHMOND.
Many employers have matching grant programs for donations employees make to non-profit organizations. Matching grants can DOUBLE your donation it is free money. Please ask your employer if they have a matching program and how to use it. This is the easiest way to make your donation go further and to raise more money for your school.
Most parents use either a check or credit card to contribute or use the secure online donation form at Portland Schools Foundation Web site (One time contribution or set up Monthly contributions). Again, be sure to select "Richmond Elementary School" from the "Donate To:" selection list to direct your donation to Richmond if you use the PSF Web site.
Finally, it is possible to use a monthly automatic withdrawal or contribute in cash. Please contact the Richmond School Foundation Treasurer for more information on these options. This year, the treasurer is Tim Gooding.
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