A message from Mrs. Simpson…
Last year, the Ben Franklin Academy Board of Directors, the BFA PTO, and the school administration made a difficult decision around fundraising and how it would be handled going forward. We announced last April that we were re-structuring fundraising to return to one of the core founding principles of the school which was to have one large fundraiser instead of many small ones. As part of this change, it was decided that small groups (any group wanting to raise money that doesn’t impact the whole school or the community) would need to fundraise outside of BFA. Currently, those groups include students participating in the Washington, D.C. trip, Disneyland Choir and Destination Imagination. The change was further explained by describing these parameters:
- The PTO will still have one large annual fundraising event (ie. BENefit Bash, Fun Run, or possibly a cash drive).
- Spirit wear sales, restaurant/spirit nights, spirit rock, and SCRIP for teachers will continue.
- Spirit rock proceeds will be placed in a grant account that will be held for use by small groups who can apply for funds via a grant application.
- Community service events benefiting a non-BFA group or organization may still occur at the discretion of the BFA Board or Fundraising Committee.
- The PTO’s community events (Harvest Festival, Sweetheart Ball, Spring Social) will be unaffected as those events have never been fundraising events and are funded through ticket sales as opposed to fundraising monies.
We are trying to find new ways to support our smaller groups that want to fundraise. The PTO Grant account will have funds available that the groups can apply for. The application and information about the grant fund can be found on the PTO page here. Smaller groups can fundraise on their own, outside of BFA and we encourage them to do so. Some groups are already having very successful fundraising campaigns while not consistently asking our community for donations.
The Student Council and CEC will still be allowed to do fundraising (including donations of goods) to support their philanthropy projects. These fundraisers could include (but are not limited to) bake sales, $1 Dress of Choice days, Penny Wars, etc. Our community has always been generous to outside groups in need (Make a Wish, American Heart Association, Wish of a Lifetime, Veterans Groups, for example). Community service has been another core value of Ben Franklin Academy and it will continue to be a part of our programming each year.
The school is in a strong financial position and has put our new Mill Levy funds to use in ways that we feel most directly impact families. We gave each grade level $5,000 to spend towards field trips so that the financial impact of those trip is less for families. We also cut student fees in half this year. We cut student fees and did not cut any teacher supply budgets or any services being offered to our students.
We heard the feedback of the community when we were asked to reduce the number of “asks.” We realize that while some are relieved with the idea of fewer fundraisers, some are frustrated. We do our best to make the best decisions we can for our whole community. We welcome continued feedback and will regularly evaluate the needs of our community.