Q: Why would parents contribute to Davis Schools Foundation as opposed to directly to a school?
The Davis Schools Foundation encourages parents to donate to their children’s schools PTAs for site-specific needs. Donations to DSF are also essential, however, because the foundation can fund programs and resources that individual school sites cannot, by leveraging dollars district-wide. For example, although a single school PTA may not be able to fund a part-time counselor position at their site, DSF can fund a full-time counselor to split her time between different schools. Similarly, DSF can fund programs and resources that are offered at multiple schools more efficiently (e.g., guest presenters for school assemblies, multi-school site leases on computer equipment). DSF also supports programs that may otherwise become unavailable throughout the district because of lack of funding. Donations to the foundation demonstrate that our community prioritizes quality Davis public schools and a broad support base helps us to attract larger contributors.
Q: What are the goals of the Davis Schools Foundation?
Our mission is to engage the greater Davis community to mobilize resources and provide financial support to our local public schools, helping to ensure effective and equitable learning environments that emphasize social, emotional, and physical wellbeing for all students.
Our funding priorities include (1) mental health and counseling services, (2) providing all students with equitable opportunity and access, and (3) supporting educators.
Q: Why does DJUSD need an education foundation?
Our children are guaranteed a publicly supported education, but they are not guaranteed an excellent public education nor one that supports their social, emotional, and physical well-being. We believe that the Davis community is committed to providing its children the best possible education and to ensuring that students enjoy the benefits of effective and equitable learning environments. Because of the dramatic ups and downs in state funding, this community needs to develop its own reliable source of funding.
California ranks among the states as one of the lowest in per pupil funding, resulting in public schools that struggle to meet minimum standards for education. Many communities in California have already responded to the ever-decreasing amount of public funding by creating education foundations to support their schools. There are more than 400 education foundations in California. These foundations all represent communities where parents have decided to regain some control over the quality of their children’s education.
Q: How will Davis Schools Foundation money be spent and who will decide?
The programs supported by Davis Schools Foundation vary from year to year, based on priorities established by the Foundation’s board of directors. Before setting priorities, we gather input from DJUSD’s Board of Education and staff, PTAs, school site councils and other parent leaders.
Our grants to DJUSD are earmarked for specific programs. We monitor school finances to ensure that the grants are spent as intended.
Q: How efficiently does the foundation operate?
The foundation spends less than 5% of its budget on operating costs such as copying, advertising, fundraising expenses, and insurance fees, etc. Whenever possible, we seek out pro bono contributions and in-kind donations.
Q: What is the relationship between the Davis Schools Foundation and DJUSD?
Davis Schools Foundation is an independent organization. To be successful, we must have a cooperative relationship with DJUSD. We seek input from the Board of Education, staff, principals and teachers regarding appropriate funding of programs.
Q: How does the Davis Schools Foundation work with individual schools and PTAs?
Many board members of the Davis Schools Foundation have volunteered on school PTAs, and the foundation strongly believes in the continuing importance of each school’s PTA. PTAs serve a vital role in defining the unique character of each site, creating a sense of community and financially supporting site-specific needs.
Davis Schools Foundation works with school communities, seeking input on district-wide programs to be funded by the foundation as well as help with our fundraising efforts. To facilitate this mutually beneficial relationship, we attempt to enlist representatives from each school to serve as a liaison between the foundation and their school.
Just as the foundation seeks help from the PTAs, it also can help PTAs. PTA bylaws limit how PTA monies may be spent; for instance, PTAs generally cannot fund positions and cannot carry over funds from year to year beyond a minimum reserve. The foundation has no such limits and thus able to fulfill many needs unserved by PTAs. In addition, the foundation can address the broader concern of inequities that occur between school sites because of the differing abilities of PTAs to raise monies.
Q: Can a donor earmark donations for a particular school?
No. Davis Schools Foundation’s support for programs can be felt at every school in DJUSD. Because the foundation supports district-wide programs, it cannot accept donations earmarked for a particular school.
Q: What protections are in place to ensure Davis Schools Foundation’s funds are properly managed?
The foundation’s funds are held in a local reputable bank. Our bylaws require that every check issued by the foundation has two authorized signatures. The bylaws also require that the foundation’s books be reviewed annually by an independent accountant.
Our treasurer is a CPA who provides regular financial reports to the board of directors and who files annual tax returns. Included in the reports is a detailed listing of every check written.
Q: Does the Davis Schools Foundation write grant proposals?
The foundation hopes to develop grant writing as a source of funding but is not doing so at present.