How would funds be spent?

Each parent group will decide how the funds are best spent at their school (rather than an oversight committee) trusting that each school knows how to best direct these resources.

Is this a district or Foundation fundraiser?

It’s a “sharing project” that was inspired by the collaborative fundraising that the middle school parent groups started several years ago. The Foundation and the district are helping to facilitate the project.

When do the funds get turned in and when do they go back out?

There will be two turn in dates: Oct. 31 and Feb. 1. It’s ideal if a group can submit their contribution in full at the first turn in date as it allows money to get back out to support students more quickly. The free and reduced meal numbers for each school are available by Oct. 31. With those numbers in hand and the contributions to the fund, the checks will be then disbursed to each school by Nov. 15 and Feb. 15.

Where does the money get pooled?

The Bellingham Public Schools Foundation will serve as the fiscal sponsor (just as it does for many groups in our school district including the middle school parent groups, several athletic groups and more). Checks will be sent to the Foundation and then all money will be returned to the participating schools.

How much is being shared, and how is it being redistributed?

The 10% given will be based on last year’s total income. By using last year’s numbers, this allows for better planning for all involved. The funds will be distributed based on the number of students at each school receiving free or reduced meals. This plan acknowledges that every school has students in need.

What happens if we have a really low fundraising year?

The plan is based on what is raised in the most recent year. One of the strengths of this project is that it helps support one another as each parent group will experience ebbs and flows in fundraising.

In the “per capita/student” column, does this reflect funding schools get from the Foundation (for example, after-school coordinators, discounts schools get for Common Threads, etc.)?

There are a lot of ways that the district, the Foundation and community partners try and support schools with the highest needs. However, the inspiration for this project came from the collective observations and acknowledgement that what we’re currently doing is still not enough.

Why aren’t the elementary schools following the same sharing model as the middle schools?

At the middle school level, it’s only four schools which didn’t have the large disparities in their fundraising outcomes prior to their initiative. Their model helped to balance income, but no school experienced huge shifts.