Proposed Policy Penalizes
December 9, 2003
I write in opposition to the equity fund policy currently being
proposed by SMMUSD Superintendent, Mr. John Deasy. ("District
Gift Policy Stirs Controversy," Dec. 4, 2003)
The policy calls for mandated entitlement by the district to
a portion of private gifts to public schools, including all contributions
to the PTA.
This policy fails to acknowledge that there are legitimate needs
at every school in this district. The taking of resources from
some students for the benefit of others assumes that some have
more than they deserve. An appropriate manner to pursue the stated
goals would promote the creation of additional funds for specific
needs of students.
This policy fails to service the proficient and advanced students
in the district. The weighted student formula for the redistribution
of funds offers no prize for successful students and thereby
penalizes the successful schools. The implication is that proficient
and advanced students are less important to the public school
system than are the struggling students.
The policy, however it is administered, adds overhead and thereby
reduces the amount of available resources. To attempt to promote
equity, the policy will require extensive comparison between
schools; of what is currently being funded and how. Letís avoid
this expensive exercise.
Further, mandated entitlements to donations, are not donations,
they are taxes and will stimulate changes in the market related
to price increases: loss of customer support, either to private
schools or reduced giving, or both. These changes place school
budgets at risk.
Letís not underestimate the value of unfettered giving. The
inherent elements of ownership and caring create an environment
wherein the sum of the parts is truly greater than the whole.
This has been diligently fostered by PTAs for years.
Ultimately the district must continue to inspire donations,
with or without this new policy. Letís forgo this divisive gesture.
Deborah Griffin, PTA, Co-President
Webster Elementary School