Hello View Ridge Elementary community,
As stated multiple times over, this has been quite the year. While we have stretched our digital wings with online learning, we have also grappled with some pretty serious questions about our values as a community. While those conversations continue, the procedures to keep our daily operations of support for the school move forward. With that in mind, we’d like to share the following budget and fundraising items in preparation for the 2021-22 school year.
PTA BUDGET PLANNING SEASON 2021
February and March are the school and PTA budget seasons. The school begins their budget process when they receive projected enrollment numbers from the district – these projections dictate the number of staff allocated for 2021-22 and the total school budget. At the same time, the PTA drafts and approves our budget for next school year. Each year, this budget has included a contribution by the PTA to the school district to pay for additional staff salaries above what the district allocation provides. For example, for this current school year, the PTA contributed $210,550 for additional teachers and staff.
A quick note about how the PTA budget works:
The annual PTA budget consists of three main areas:
1) Planned fundraising goals to both support the school & events for the 2021-2022 school year and funding for a staff contribution for the 2022-2023 school year.
2) Projected expenses to support the school & events for the 2021-2022 school year.
3) A planned contribution to pay for additional school staff for the 2022-2023 school year. In March, the PTA submits a staffing contribution check for 2021-2022 school year.
This year has been unprecedented, and our fundraising goals and abilities have had to shift as a result. Thanks to previous years of generous giving, the PTA had set aside a healthy “rainy day” fund to account for unanticipated events or decrease in fundraising. This means that we had enough in the account to cover a “standard” year of expenses – things like books and supplies for teachers, family and student support, and administrative expenses. We also have enough reserved to provide additional salary support for the 2021-22 school year at the same level as the past several years (equal to about 2.0 additional staff positions). However, this “rainy day fund” would then be spent and we will need to start from scratch to fund additional staff beyond the coming school year.
These are big financial decisions (with real implications for school services). So that the PTA Board can understand the preferences of our community, please consider the following budget options (LINK for survey to have your voice heard):
- Option 1: Use the approximately $210,000 remaining funds to provide supplemental staff for this coming school year, 2021-2022. The exact supplemental staffing will be determined by the principal and building leadership team and would likely include some combination of Librarian, Nurse, Reading Specialist, Counselor, and Band.
- Option 2: Contribute half of the existing funds, reserving half for the 2022-23 school year. This would result in significant differences in staffing for the next school year, though what that will actually be depends substantially upon the school district budget. (For example, we might not be assigned an Assistant Principal this coming school year as the district provides that position based on projected enrollment numbers calculated in June).
- Option 3: Fund one specific position for the next 2-4 years, depending on the position and salary of that position over time. For this option, please rank your preference for the position you would like to fund (Reading specialist, Librarian, Nurse, Band, or Counselor).
Note that none of these options prevents the PTA from fundraising to fund additional staff for future school years. Any money raised next year could help supplement staffing for 2022-23. However, realistically, it will be difficult to fund raise the over $200,000 it would take to maintain the additional staffing levels View Ridge has had for the past several years.
It is important to remember that these options are about positions, not the current person holding that position. Many of us might treasure their personal relationships with View Ridge staff. However, even with funding, there is no guarantee a specific staff member will continue at View Ridge from year to year.
FUNDRAISING IN 2021
The pandemic and remote schooling has drastically changed our fundraising calendar. In prior years, we would fundraise in the fall to fund events and school support for that school year, plus the staffing salary contribution for the following school year. Due to our “rainy day fund” and decreased spending both last spring and this school year, we have funding for this school year and a staffing contribution for the 2021-2022 school year. This winter and spring, we will be fundraising for money needed for school events and school support for the fall, as well as the PTA supplemental staffing contribution for the 2022-2023 school year.
As a PTA board we have struggled with how to fundraise during a pandemic where our community has competing priorities on their time, hearts, and wallets. We are lucky that View Ridge Elementary enjoys a large and generous community. In past years, with the help of a large team of dedicated parent volunteers, we have raised around $250,000 a year to fill in district funding gaps and make View Ridge a supportive and enriching place for kids to learn.
To help put the numbers into perspective, we spent $210,550 to support additional staffing at the school for this school year, 2020-2021. This supplemented district funding for the following positions.
|2020-2021 School Year PTA Contributions|
|District Provides||PTA Supplements||Cost||Final Staffing|
0.5 Assistant Principal
0 Assistant Principal
0.3 Reading specialist
$ 58, 864
0.5 Assistant Principal
0.5 LAP/Reading Specialist
0.2 Band (5th grade band)
*By also funding the band, the librarian is now full-time due to a shift in planning and collaboration hours by the district.
|LAP||LAP is state money to be used for reading/math intervention of students not meeting the standard in school assessments. This will be combined with allocations for reading specialist or academic interventionist.|
Additionally, our PTA had an expected operating budget of about $50,000. While some of this budget went unspent due to cancellations related to COVID, it is important to remember that these are expenses we would expect to spend each school year and need to consider as we fundraise for future years. For any budget items that were canceled this year, those allotted amounts will roll over into the PTA general fund. For example, if we had $300 allotted for the school dance, that amount would go into the General Fund, and unless changes are proposed and voted on in February/March, then the school dance amount would stay at $300 for the following year.
The following are some of the operating expenses for the 2020-2021 school year:
- Teacher Support: additional classroom supplies, books for our children (including materials to support online learning), and professional development conferences and workshops;
- Upcoming FOC training hosted by our PTA DEI Committee, that allows for inviting the neighborhood community;
- Grade-level Programs: First Grade Kindness Project, Second Grade Iditarod, Fifth Grade Graduation, and, in a normal year, Fourth Grade Camp Orkila;
- Family & Community Support: Providing school supplies, holiday food support, and yearbooks to any family requesting it;
- Social Events: In a normal school year, our school-wide events are free to everyone, like Boo Ridge, Family Dance, Pancake Breakfast, Ice Cream Social, and Wednesday Game Days.
Given we have 415 students currently enrolled at View Ridge, our PTA is spending an average of $630 per student to cover the increase in staffing and the items and events outlined above.
We would like to continue to supplement our staffing gaps, provide for our teachers and community and organize social events for our school. Please consider donating to the View Ridge PTA Otter FUNd. Whether that amount is $5 or $630, your participation sustains the programs at View Ridge that create and support lifelong learners. You can click HERE for our fundraising link.
Thank you for your support,
Kathryn Lachenmaier & Megan Flaherty