Friday, December 9, 2011

Weighing in on School Matters by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

                      Weighing in on School Matters by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Issue: It is my understanding that One School District, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD - California) and some members of its School Board proposes to end individual schools’ raising of PTA funds for their individual schools and instead, establish a foundation to oversee all fundraising and create a general pot to distribute funding to and among all schools within its school district.
This was at one point a very hot topic; I can generally tell hot button issues because Parents Taking Charge in Education’s Blog receives a number of Alerts, which I have gathered, are from individuals looking for information on relevant topics at the blog. At least two newspapers had feature articles on the above issue.
Perhaps, and because I have spent an inordinate number of years as a Parent School Volunteer and held a number of other school-community related positions, I have discovered, there are relatively simple solutions to most problems. I also hesitate in providing solutions without all the facts or hearing from both sides. Information thus far gleaned on the above issue does not appear to present all the relevant facts and therefore, weighing in on this matter will consist of a number of questions and observations based on what has been presented thus far, which are:  
1. The school District or System’s Board proposes to end individual schools’ raising of PTA funds for their individual schools; establish a foundation to oversee all fundraising and create a general pot to distribute funding to and among all schools within its school district.
 2. Parents, who arduously raise monies to support their individual schools did not/do not agree with the decision or think it a fair one.
3. The school board felt it was a more democratic way to meet the needs of all schools within the district or system.
Ways to Address this Issue; First
1.      After having ascertained that I understood each party’s position on the issue, I would inquire as to why the school board has chosen this measure as the solution?

2.      Being that School PTAs are separate entities from the Schools; school district or systems and its boards, on what grounds, policy or by law, can a school board mandate such of PTAs?

3.      From school PTA leaders, I would ask that they review their PTA By-laws, mission, purpose and any other clause(s) that relate to the above issue.

4.      From a legal standpoint, what directives have the state and national PTA issued on this issue?
My next set of inquiries would consist of, what does the school board and school system view as the advantages and disadvantages of their above proposal? What are alternative solutions?
It is important to look at the entire picture, which would also encompass the situation being viewed from the perspective that those Parents who are committed to assisting schools with meeting the needs of educating students are being penalized for doing so. It is difficult enough to get Parents involved in their children’s education and schools; this action on the school district or Board’s part could very well discourage and adversely affect many Parents’ involvement and students’ attitudes toward learning.
I would also point out that problems of this nature at times can result from:
1.      Parents and/or school officials’ lack of knowledge and/or failure to understand the education process and/or policies or laws which govern each party in this issue.

2.      Personal agendas getting in the way of what is best for our children and their education.

3.      Those who are too close to the problem to view it from various perspectives and/or select viable solutions that produce a win-win situation for all.
There is a simple and viable solution that affords a win-win solution for parties on each side of this issue and can afford the school board the opportunity to obtain as much additional funding for the deprived schools as needed.
Mrs. Dorothy Barron’s e-mail address is She would be happy to confer with those interested in obtaining additional funding for their schools and/or school activities. She has served as a 16 year (7-9 years full-time) Parent School Volunteer, as well as having served in the following capacities -  PTA President at two school levels, Parents and Educators School Mediator and School-Business Liaison. She also co-founded and served as director of the Organization, Parents Focused on Education.

Links: District-Wide Fund Raising on the table. Ashley Archibald. Santa Monica Daily 10 Oct. 2011.

Suggested article for reading: Parent-School Organization Fund-Raising by Mrs. Dorothy Barron 14 Oct. 2011.
Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder
Parents Taking Charge in Education   

1 comment:

  1. Does anybody know a good Santa Monica school research website? My wife and I are relocating to the area in early March, and we wanted to better understand the educational options for our two daughters (one with ADHD).

    One website provided us with a great overview of the schools in that area:
    Does anybody know of any other online tools we could use for research? And are private schools worth the extra expense in this part of LA (especially for parents with special needs children)?