– FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS –

What is the Education Commitment Campaign (ECC)?

This year, the PTAs and SchoolForce have teamed up to create the Education Commitment Campaign (ECC) to simplify the process to support our schools. Rather than being asked to contribute to multiple organizations at various times, if you donate during the ECC time period (Aug 1-Oct 31, 2020), a single donation will cover virtually all of your child’s educational needs. Your donation will make a combined contribution to your PTA, school supplies, and SchoolForce, our education foundation. All of these support your child in getting the best education possible.

 

Why was the ECC created?

We are so excited to bring the PTAs and SchoolForce together into one fundraising campaign. The BRSSD, PTAs and SchoolForce leadership teams have consistently received feedback from district parents that the separate fall fundraising campaigns for each of the eight PTAs and SchoolForce were confusing and inconvenient and that they wanted to streamline the donation process. The ECC makes the donation process clearer and more convenient.

 

What is the suggested donation?

The suggested donation is $1800 per child. An investment of $1800 in your child's education covers your PTA, SchoolForce and school supply donation for the whole year. For about $10 per school day, you can make sure that all your child's educational needs are being met. It can be a lot at once, so you can spread it out over the year with recurring payments. While $1800 is the suggested donation, please give what you are comfortable with.

 

How is my donation split between SchoolForce and the PTA?

The first $250 of every donation per child will go to that child’s school PTA and all the remainder will go to SchoolForce. See examples in the table below.


 

 

 

What is the difference between SchoolForce and the PTA?

SchoolForce addresses all the critical district-wide staff and programs such as: science, art and music teachers; in-class technology; art, music and physical education programs; professional development; teacher innovation grants; social emotional learning and support. PTA supports programs such as field trips, assemblies, family nights, classroom supplies, science and book fairs.

 

By fundraising together, you can ensure that your child is receiving a balanced education without needing to figure out how much to give to PTA vs SchoolForce. The first $250 goes to your school's PTA and the remainder goes to SchoolForce. 

 

What do funds raised by the ECC support?

Our schools - directly and with SchoolForce and PTA support - run dozens of critical programs, and now you can write just one check for both through the Education  Commitment Campaign. Some examples include:

  • 18 Teachers in music, reading, library, physical education and science

  • Professional development for staff at all school sites

  • 2 middle school counselors

  • Art supplies at all elementary school sites

  • Social-Emotional Learning at all elementary sites (Tier One and Tier Two) provide mental health curriculum and safety nets at every school

  • Technology purchases and upkeep at all school sites

  • Family events such as movie nights, BBQs, talent shows

  • Field trips and assemblies

  • School supplies

 

I pay a lot in property taxes already.  Doesn't that go toward my child’s education?

Not entirely. Belmont Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD) is the least-funded district in San Mateo County. It is 23rd out of 23 school districts when it comes to funding. Your property tax funds all public education, which includes the high school district, community colleges, UC's as well as BRSSD. As a result, about half of those dollars make it to BRSSD and the state supplements the total(although unfortunately not enough!), as our taxes don’t meet the minimum state guaranteed per-student funding level . 

 

Why are we community funded?

Before Prop 13, districts could count on tax income to meet their funding needs. In 1978, California school budgets were upwards of $9 billion. The following year - with the passage of Prop 13 - those budgets were slashed, nearly overnight, by nearly 60%. California now ranks 41st in funding per student (adjusted for cost per living). 

In response to Prop 13, parents began to form education foundations to fill the gaps of funding Prop 13 created. In 2001, parents in our community created SchoolForce, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Education Foundation, after a series of failed parcel taxes jeopardized the continuation of staffing and programs. 

Now, districts are limited to the funding they either receive from the state (LCCF) or can raise on their own through local property taxes (BASIC AID) and donations from  the community. BRSSD is an LCCF-funded district with a growing amount of community support needed to keep it fiscally viable. This means that up to 20% of the district’s annual budget of about $50 million/year is provided through local sources such as parcel taxes and SchoolForce.

 

What is the time period for the ECC?

The campaign is effective from August 1 to October 31, 2020. All funds received by SchoolForce during this time period - including during registration/SchoolMint contact confirmation - will be governed by the memo of understanding (MOU) for the ECC that has been signed by the 7 PTAs, Opening Doors PTA, SchoolForce and the Belmont Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD). 

Why is the Memo of Understanding (MOU) only effective for one school year? What happens after that?

Since this is the first year we are trying this joint fundraising model, establishing a one year period for the MOU allows the PTAs, SchoolForce, and the District to coordinate, test the idea, and refine the MOU based on lessons learned before transitioning to a longer-term arrangement.

 

All parties are entering the arrangement with a sense of being fair, flexible, and applying common sense. If something unexpected arises during the term of the MOU, the parties will work together to resolve questions and fine-tune the terms of any future agreement.

Who chooses the Steering Committee and other Committee members?

Each PTA identified representation for their respective schools for all committees so committees are made of volunteers from all schools.Those designated representatives participate in the committees and communicate back to their site and PTA leadership. 

 

How Donations Are Allocated

How is my donation split between SchoolForce and the PTA?

The first $250 of every donation per child will go to that child’s school PTA and all the remainder will go to SchoolForce. See examples in the table below.


 

 

 

 

 

If a family donates $500 and has students at two schools (e.g., an elementary school and Ralston), would the entire donation be split across the two PTAs?

Yes, $250 would be allocated to School A and $250 would be allocated to School B. SchoolForce would get $0.

 

If a family donates $300 and has students in two schools, does each of the PTAs where the family has a student receive $150?

Yes, School A and School B each get $150 and SchoolForce gets $0.

 

What if I only want to donate to my PTA?

Any donation of $250 or less received by Oct 31st is given solely to your school's PTA. While donating to your school's PTA covers important needs such as field trips and community events, SchoolForce funds core academic staff and programs to ensure that your child has a fabulous teacher(s), science and reading specialists, technology and foundational education needs. Together, PTA and SchoolForce provide a balanced educational experience.

 

What if I only want to donate to SchoolForce?

Any donation received after Oct 31st will be given solely to SchoolForce, so you can wait until then to make a donation. While donating to SchoolForce ensures that your child has core educational needs addressed, your school's PTA ensures that your child benefits from the extras like school supplies, field trips, teacher allowances and community events. Together, PTA and SchoolForce provide a balanced educational experience.

 

Additionally, SchoolForce will still have other campaigns during the year which have been families' favorite way to contribute. For example, Reading Power will still occur in January and the Annual SchoolForce Gala will still take place in April.

What if I don’t want to give the full suggested donation to PTA, but I want part of my donation to go to SchoolForce?

If you want to give less than $250 to your PTA(s) but also contribute to SchoolForce, then it is best if you make your contribution that you’d like allocated to your PTA(s) during the  ECC campaign period and make a separate donation to SchoolForce later in the school year after the ECC. 

 

I know other people that do not donate, why should I donate and help other people's kids?

The ECC is about unity in our school community. To ensure that every child enrolled in the BRSSD gets a high quality well-rounded education, we must come together to help bridge the funding gap. Your donation benefits every single child. The first $250 of your donation goes to your school's PTA and the remainder goes to SchoolForce where the money is applied to critical core academic expenses like teacher salaries, district-wide programs, and technology on a per-child basis. If the campaign comes up short, all kids will come up short. In fact, SchoolForce funds such basic nuts-and-bolts education needs in the district, that when families don’t contribute enough in the current year, it affects BRSSD’s budgeting and planning for the next year.

How does it work if I set up recurring payments?

Recurring payments can be set up through the ECC giving portal. You can choose the amount to donate, frequency, and timing of donations, and you can make changes any time through your online account..

 

How does corporate matching get allocated?


 

 

 

 

What about donations made after the ECC campaign period?

All donations made after the ECC campaign period (from November 1 on) will go to SchoolForce. This is comparable to the previous fundraising agreement wherein PTAs stop all fundraising after October 31 of each school year.

 

Are my contributions tax deductible?

Yes!  Your donations to the Educational Commitment Campaign are tax-deductible because it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The tax ID is SchoolForce, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Education Foundation:  #91-2159650.  Receipts for funds accepted by the ECC will use SchoolForce’s tax ID # since SchoolForce is the organization that is receiving and distributing the money to the PTAs.

 

Who do I make my check out to?

Please make checks out to SchoolForce. Funds will then be distributed to the respective PTAs, including corporate matching. You can send them to P.O. Box 5196, Belmont, CA 94002

 

PTA Fundraising

What if the campaign doesn’t meet its goals and raise enough to meet the PTA budgets and SchoolForce targets?

Should a PTA(s) not raise enough to meet their budget(s), the campaign period can be extended to December 31 for those schools that still need to increase their participation. Per the MOU, there are dates to evaluate fundraising goals and targets before October 31st.

 

What if the campaign is so successful that PTAs end up with significantly more funds than budgeted?

The ECC Steering Committee will work together to monitor fundraising throughout the campaign. Options might include: creating a combined reserve fund until the campaign is over to determine the best use of funds. Examples might be allocating funds to any PTA that might be under budget, donating excess funds raised to SchoolForce, or other TBD options that fit within the spirit of the agreement and intent of donors.

 

Can schools/PTAs still hold community events (family events/parties, talent shows, fun walk/runs, book fairs) that also raise money?

The intention of the MOU is to raise sufficient funds for all PTA budgets so that additional fundraisers would not be necessary. The primary purpose of the agreement is to reduce the number of financial “asks” to parents. For beloved school traditions, it should be possible to reduce pricing to closer to break-even budgets so that community building thrives - at a lower cost to participating families. In fact, community participation in school events may well increase if costs are lower.

 

Community building is one of the core purposes of PTAs. In most cases, school and family events that bring families together raise nominal funds. In most cases, the PTAs will try to hold events that cover costs but do not serve as additional fundraisers in keeping with the spirit of the MOU and reduced “asks” to families. PTAs that net over $1,000 for an event will donate the extra proceeds to SchoolForce.

Can schools still ask families to contribute to “pass-through” activities such as after-school enrichment programs, sports, or other activities that are voluntary?

Yes. PTAs often serve as the organization that coordinates funding for such activities. But since optional activities are not part of core PTA budgets, it is not part of the ECC MOU.

What about donations to Opening Doors, our district’s PTA for students with special needs?

Donations to Opening Doors PTA are separate from the Education Commitment Campaign, but you will have the opportunity to make both donations at the same time if you contribute when you update your child’s information before the start of the school year. 

Questions? Email us: info@eccbrssd.org

© 2020 by EDUCATION COMMITMENT CAMPAIGN, A PTA-SchoolForce Partnership

Tax Exempt ID: 91-2159650