Why did the suggested donation go up this year?
Four years ago, when District decisions reimagined the separate paths of the MI and SI to one of remaining together at Broadway, we established a common fundraising target of $1950 per student. This amount was higher than some parents were used to and lower than others were used to. We saw that for our families who were used to a higher suggested donation our donation rate went down. In addition, when we analyzed our data from the last several years we saw that the most common donation was in the amount of the suggested donation. For that reason we decided to increase this number by a relatively slight amount for those who could donate this amount, while simultaneously stressing as much as possible the fact that every single donation, regardless of the amount, is significant and valued.
It is worth repeating and emphasizing: EVERY SINGLE DONATION, REGARDLESS OF THE AMOUNT, IS SIGNIFICANT AND VALUED.
What is supported by money directed to “target language funds” and why is there money directed that way?
Supporting the learning of the two target languages (Mandarin or Spanish) in equivocal ways, does not come with the same price tag. For a multitude of reasons, it costs more to hire Mandarin-speaking tutors (the equivalent of Spanish-speaking TAs) and purchase reading material or other supports in Chinese. Because of this, the previous and current Friends of Broadway boards have decided to direct a portion of each donor’s gift to fund the target language learning for the student the donor is supporting in the hope that doing so will help families feel comfortable that their donation will be used to support the language learning they’ve chosen for their student(s).
However, across the programs all students receive the same quality education and supports in the English classrooms and for science, math, and other lessons regardless of the language in which the lesson is taught. For this reason, the bulk of each donation goes to fund items in the “general” category. Those are supports that every Broadway student enjoys regardless of the foreign language they are learning.
It is important that every donor understands that directing money to supporting the target language learning of their student does just that. Unless a portion of their donation is also used to cover our general needs, they are not supporting their student completely.
Our hopes are always that parents will ask questions until they feel comfortable donating. If you have more questions about this split, please email us at email@example.com.
Can I ask that my donation only supports one of the immersion programs or an enrichment that I think is important?
Yes, and no. If you are able to make a donation large enough to cover the cost of an entire program that has already been approved by Principal Wang (like STAR PE, Art in Action, classroom libraries for all classes), it’s really easy to take donations of this kind. On the other hand, unless we are certain a program can be fully funded, those dollars might be needed in other places that are more critical (impact instruction) or less expensive to run. So you can earmark funds, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to spend them.
For the 2019-2020 school year we’ll continue to have target language funds that support instruction in either Spanish or Mandarin (see question above). As in previous years, these funds only go towards the target language instruction and not for all of the costs of the full Language Immersion Program. (Meaning that English language and general support in both programs is paid for from the General Fund.) Donors can direct some or all of their donation towards target language support of their choice. Within that fund, however, the practice stated above holds true.
It’s important for all of our donors to understand that the ultimate decision maker in what support is needed in the classroom is Principal Wang. The Friends of Broadway Board of Directors either approves or does not approve her requests for spending that supports instruction.
Where’s the budget for next year?
Although in the past the budget was available in the fall, the budgeting process and the fundraising timeline aren’t required to coincide. The requirement for a budget is tied to the Friends of Broadway bylaws, which give parents the right to approve a plan for spending by the board. For the sake of convenience, the budget has been approved in previous years as part of the Annual Meeting, which is also required, but only to report on the previous year’s activity.
This year we have decided to do something radically different, which will give our parents more opportunity to participate in the real spending conversation. In January, when we have a real idea of how much money we have raised and a better idea of the needs for the school, we’ll have an open budget meeting with our parents. At that time we’ll present a spending proposal for our parents to approve that will more accurately represent how donations will be used in the 2019-2020 school year.
The budget meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Please read the Dolphin Dispatch in January for more information on this important meeting.