PPS Parents Raise Record Amount in 2011 to Support Schools throughout PPS in the 2012-13 School Year

Posted on April 6, 2012 in PPS Foundation Updates

As the District Faces Significant Cuts, the PPS Foundation Announces a Little Good News: Nearly $1 Million in Reinvestments

April 6, 2012 (Portland, Ore.) – Earlier this week PPS Superintendent Carole Smith released her proposed budget for the 2012-13 school year, illuminating the gaps that will be created by the $27.5 million shortfall and the possible reduction of 110 teaching positions. As the PPS community wrestles with the cuts, a record number of schools will have an additional source of revenue to fund positions and programs in their school improvement plans as recipients of the largest pool of PPS Equity Fund dollars in the 17 years it has existed.

In 2011 PPS parents, through 39 Local School Foundations (LSFs), raised a record amount of money for their school communities, over $3 million to support teaching and staff positions in their schools; of that, one third was placed in the PPS Equity Fund, which is managed by the Portland Public Schools Foundation, a division of All Hands Raised.

This year $965,000 will be awarded to 43 PPS schools, as well as five alternative programs. The awards range from $20,000 to $30,000; $12,000 awards will be granted to five alternative programs.

Lisa Zuniga, chair of the Mt. Tabor Middle School Foundation, said of this year’s awards, “These grants infuse our public schools with everything from more rigorous academics to more vigorous enrichment opportunities. They represent a hard and fast vote of confidence in our principals, our teachers and above all our students, and allow for a little hope and promise in the face of depleted budgets. I’m proud to support the Portland Public Schools Foundation’s clear and critical mission.”

The PPS Equity Grant Awards are based on a data-driven equity formula that takes into account key financial resources at schools, as well as the demographic profile of the schools. Once the equity formula is applied and a needs-based ranking emerges, the total amount of funds available is applied. At the urging of district leadership, the equity formula considered the eight schools that are likely to lose Title I funding for the 2012-13 school year.

PPS Board Member, Bobbie Regan, said of these investments, “My roots as a school activist began over 15 years ago, doing all I could to fight for an adequate investment in public education. I remain frustrated by the big picture and yet grateful to our parent community for stepping forward and to our partners at the Portland Public Schools Foundation for orchestrating a successful, fair and equitable system that gives support and hope to so many school communities.”

In the current school year, 110 teachers and staff in PPS are supported in part or in full through monies raised by PPS parent-led fundraising. In addition to teaching and staff positions supported at PPS Equity Grant recipient schools, many programs and services are provided in support of individual school improvement plans.

Shay James, Principal of Franklin High School, whose school receives Equity Grant funds, said of the impact, “PPS Equity Grants provide a financial resource that has helped us make significant strides in closing the achievement gap and increased college preparation for all of our students. Without the Equity Grant support some of our most vulnerable students would continue to fall behind.”

The Portland Public Schools Foundation, a division of All Hands Raised, is able to steward PPS parent-led fundraising and manage the PPS Equity Fund at no cost to LSFs or PPS because of generous contributions from New Seasons Market, through their Cans for Kids and School Fruit programs, and a number of individuals.

A complete list of the school rankings is attached, as well as the formula used to make these awards. For additional information, please contact Jeanie-Marie Price at jeanie-marie@allhandsraised.org, 503-234-5404 x 12, or 971-207-9269.

In 1994/95, on the heels of Measure 5’s cuts to local public education, the PPS School Board established the policy allowing parents to raise private funds to enhance staffing for their school through Local School Foundations. Recognizing that abilities and resources for fundraising  vary between schools, the PPS School Board required that one-third of all monies raised (after the first $10,000) by local schools be set aside in a fund that is stewarded and distributed to high-need schools by the Portland Schools Foundation (the PPS Equity Fund). Since its establishment, the PPS Equity Fund has attracted national attention for its creative and collaborative approach to addressing disparities in school funding, having awarded more than $7 million in grants to schools in need.