Volunteers and donations

An important topic at our June 12 meeting was what we all as a community can do to help the schools through this crisis. If options for raising money with taxes are extremely limited, what kind of impact can we have by volunteering or making donations? Will it be enough?

“Comment from a teacher: [funding from the] AAPS Education Foundation is a great way to give teachers a morale boost.”

“What opportunities are available from PTO and other organizations to subsidize public education?”

“Can our community be notified well enough ahead of time by AAPS about what cuts are being considered, so if programs are important to us we can try to find alternative funding?”

Disclaimer: Comments posted here represent the informed personal opinion of the author. Postings by individuals who otherwise serve in an official capacity with the AAPS, Board of Education, the AAEA, or other organizations, do not necessarily represent the official position of those organizations unless otherwise noted.

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Private support for Ann Arbor Public Schools

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation (AAPSEF) exists to provide funding from private sources to support programs in the AAPS. When initially concevied, the Educational Foundation was going to provide funds for the extra’s that help to make the AAPS excellent. In the past few years it has become clear that any “extra” funding in the district is needed to support the breadth of core programs that AAPS offers, as well as the programs that we have assumed to be core – the arts, music, physical education, language, humanities,vocational ed, AP classes, etc. This may still not be enough to hold on to all that we have come to expect of a public school education in Ann Arbor – our standards are very high.

The Educational Foudation cannot raise enough funds to make up for the structural deficit created by a sluggish economic climate and Proposal A ($6 million or more per year). However, we can hope to raise enough money to make a difference and to maintain standards of excellence expected by the citizens of Ann Arbor and that our youngest community members deserve.

The citizens of Ann Arbor have a long history of supporting public education, having passed nearly all tax increases. Citizens that were formerly willing tax payers now need to take on a new role – that of philanthropist. In his July 12th essay entitled “Tradition of Giving”, Jack Lessenberry wrote, “We need to understand that quality education and quality public services are essential to a civilized society. And we need to recognize that paying for this requires a massive public commitment.”

The Educational Foundation has just announced its first large grant ($50,000) to the AAPS – in support of writing literacy in grades 4-12. Look for press releases in the local news media on this announcement. To make a contribution to the Educational Foundation to support this Initiative for Excellence and others like it, go the the AAPSEF web-site (www.aapsef.org).

There are not many options to dealing with the decline in state funding; instituting a county wide tax, changing the funding model through legislation, and private giving. Private giving is something any one of us can do, it is immediate and all funds stay here in Ann Arbor.