The West Seattle Public School Equity Fund was launched in the 2021-2022 school year, and distributed the first round of fundshifting in the 2022-2023 school year. A summary impact statement will be made available at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.
As we start up this funding mechanism, we reflect on several accomplishments and the impact we’re already making:
Presentations made to 8 West Seattle public gradeschool (and K8) PTAs about the impact of redlining and policy decisions on the ability of school PTAs to fundraise, the inequity of fundraising for individual schools and the potential to pool and shift funds to address systemic shortfalls and bolster community-wide advocacy for equitable education opportunities.
"Participating in the Equity Fund has raised awareness of the systemic inequities in public school funding and how our PTA is a part of that system. It's brought us into difficult and much needed conversations about wealth inequality and fundraising. Fundshifting has also given us a path to make positive change in West Seattle, even in the face of huge forces beyond our control."
CLAIRE MICCIO, GENESEE HILL PARENT
WSPSEF ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBER
Relationships established with parent and staff leadership at five Title I schools, creating a framework for trust and solidarity over paternalistic charity.
$20k raised from 4 contributing schools and a fundshifting budget line item added for subsequent years; additional school commitments made for following years.
Funds distributed equitably to five Title I schools (based on student headcount) as directed by the members of the Advisory Committee (made up of parents from all participating schools).
Relationships formed and stories of fundraising and spending shared across schools that hadn’t connected previously:
West Seattle Elementary was the only recipient school without a PTA/PTO. They connected with the Roxhill PTO leadership and were provided support in getting their own PTO set up so that they are now able to receive discretionary funding from their families and the wider community. See the article on the WSBlog.
As a committee, we learned that while some schools had sizable reserves that were not being used during the pandemic, other schools lapsed in their PTA membership fees because they used all the funds they had available to pay families' monthly rents/mortgages so those students wouldn’t become unhoused.
Two community events hosted:
Our kickoff event, held at DNDA in the Spring of 2022, celebrated the launch of a pooled fund with representatives from all participating schools, face painting and coloring for the kids, opportunities for parents and teachers to get to know each other across school communities. See the article on the WSBlog.
An educational session, hosted online by the Advisory Committee team, featuring Vivian Van Gelder, SESEC Advocacy and Policy Director, to learn about and discuss the funding streams available to public schools, the impact of PTA fundraising and the historical intent of PTA advocacy, and clarifying misconceptions about Title I funding.
Multiple interviews and speaking opportunities to share lessons learned and create relationships with other local initiatives like Southeast Schools Fundraising Alliance (SESSFA), Seattle Council PTSA, and the newly launched Central and North Seattle Schools PTA Alliance (CANSSPA).