Fund-raising efforts by some California public schools have hit a snag, one likely to face other parts of the country as more and more organizations once supported primarily by governments seek private donors to make up for state and local cuts.
Officials at the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District decided they needed to take action after they noticed that schools in affluent areas were doing better at raising money than those in poorer neighborhoods. It decided it was time to find a better way to redistribute the money to benefit low-income families, according to the Lookout News.
Under a plan it is considering, donations earmarked for teachers and other workers would go to a districtwide nonprofit organization that would distribute the money among all 20 schools in the district. Meanwhile, donations for supplies, field trips, and other extras would remain at any school the donor supported directly.
The disparities in giving have been stark. The Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School, in Malibu, receives donations from parents totaling more than $2,100 per student, while McKinley Elementary, which is in a less affluent part of Santa Monica, garners just $96.
If the new policy is adopted, Port Dume will have to put about half of its private donations in the community pot. That has angered some Malibu families who have said they will stop contributing if their donations are pooled—or move their children to private schools.
How should the schools handle this challenge? Let us know what you would do. And to learn more about how the policy is viewed, see this editorial that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.