by Neal Morton, The Hechinger Report
(This story about PTAs was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter.)
In 2013, families at a Seattle high school raked in more than $100,000 for a raffle to win a Tesla Model S.
The year before, the parent teacher association at Garfield High School cleared $40,000 in raffle tickets for a Nissan Leaf. Other schools in this tech-boom city rely on lavish galas to raise as much as $422,000 in a single night, and some spend almost as much as they haul in.
During the pandemic, parents at the John Stanford International School spent $249,999 — one dollar less than the school district allows before the board steps in to review such spending — on teaching assistants for a dual language program. This year, the Green Lake Parent Teacher Association (PTA) paid about half that much to cover the cost of the elementary school’s vocal teacher and a portion of a full-time counselor’s salary, among other supports for students.
Meanwhile, in the South End, parents at Rising Star Elementary celebrate when they can cobble together even $300.
“That’s in a good year,” said Leticia Bazemore, former PTA vice president at Rising Star.
Continue reading Wealthy Families Fundraising for Public Schools Poses Troubling Equity Issues →