…Under the current system, schools in wealthier, typically whiter enclaves with foundations that are able to raise significant sums via auctions and jog-a-thons can keep the first $10,000 that they raise. After that, they must give one-third of their fundraising totals to the district’s Fund for Portland Public Schools, which then redistributes that money to schools without foundation support.
“Typically whiter enclaves with foundations” is great. Let’s inject race into every subject at every opportunity.
That results in a small handful of schools — among them Lincoln High and Duniway and Bridlemile elementary schools — getting to keep upwards of $130,000, enough to fund an extra teacher, plus perhaps an aide. By contrast, spillover grants distributed by the Fund for PPS top out at $15,000 per school.
Life is better when you’re rich. That’s a tale as old as time.
Critics say that’s an inherently unethical system that allows wealthier communities to insulate themselves from the brunt of any budget cutbacks and robs them of the impetus to join in lobbying for more state funding for the entire public school system.
If you prevent the rich from bettering their kids’ school, they’ll leave. As in fact they are: Enrollment is down in Portland Public Schools, and the population is declining in Multnomah County.
Why? Well, one reason is that already Portland Public Schools uses an “equity-focused budget” to send significantly more money to students with higher needs:
For example, the district is spending $16,149 per student this year at Rosa Parks Elementary School, where there is no foundation, versus $7,032 at Richmond Elementary School, where there is a foundation.
That’s an enormous funding disparity, and the ability of parents to off-set this by fundraising is hampered by existing district rules. That some people want to disincentivize parent fundraising further speaks of a philosophy that says nobody gets to have nice things.
Given what we know of human nature, that’s unlikely to work out.