What We Do
PHOTO CREDIT: DIWAS Photography
To create an equitable resource of PTA funding for our West Seattle public gradeschools (including K-8).
Creating a future where all West Seattle public school students can succeed by shifting our funding priorities as individuals and as PTAs
Authenticity | Transparency | Community Action | Thoughtful Engagement
The West Seattle Public School Equity Fund operates simply: a portion of the PTA budgets from well resourced public elementary (and K8) West Seattle schools is contributed to a shared fund, which is managed by parent and/or staff advisors from each of the participating schools. The funds are then distributed annually to historically under resourced public elementary (and K8) West Seattle schools.
As a pooled fund of PTA money in West Seattle, we continue the mission of the PTA model to speak with one voice for every child.
We adhere to the national PTA mission “to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children”; and are influenced by the statement on their website that says:
“Today, the issues that affect our children extend beyond their individual schools. PTAs provide parents with the forum and tools to collectively influence the decisions that affect children not only at their schools, but also throughout their districts, within their states, and across the nation. This mission is unique to PTA.”
To do this we:
Ask that public schools in neighborhoods with more wealth accumulation create a budget line item for shifting funds to recipient public schools in neighborhoods historically marginalized in wealth accumulation.
Have two representatives from each participating school serve as Advisory Committee Members to WSPSEF, supporting all schools in annually shifting and distributing funds
Intentionally establish genuine relationships between families at different schools to remove the stigma of charity and paternalism
Hold community education events about the potential of pooled funds across a community to create a shared power that advocates for all of our students.
Speak to the impact of red-lining and policy decisions that continue to impact the ability of some PTAs to raise significantly more money than other PTAs, and recognize that fundraising for our individual schools contributes to the inequity in the educational system
Allow the PTAs at the recipient schools to use their funds just as the PTAs at contributing schools do: at the discretion of their PTA community, with no strings attached or reporting out to other schools on the use of the funds. The funds received are not a grant or gift, they are shared resources in our community [see more info about trust based funding]
"What I love about the pooled fund is that it brings together the West Seattle community to support each other through a shared goal of our children's education. Seldom do schools share resources and this gives the opportunity to do that in a respectful, non-patronizing way. By pooling and shifting our fundraising, we’re in partnership together. It’s a reminder that those schools don’t need us – we need each other."
ANDY WOO, PATHFINDER PARENT
WSPSEF ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBER
We also recognize several truths:
Advocacy work to address educational inequities takes time.
Systemic racism plays a significant role in creating and maintaining these inequities.
Finding the right leverage point can impact an entire system.
West Seattle Public School Equity Fund addresses these truths with a simple, but profound, action: shifting a portion of our individual schools’ budgets to be distributed as a community resource through a pooled fund. Through this action we acknowledge the historical racism that created this problem, as well as our shared community responsibility in changing it.