Southwest Charter School Student Supply and Field Work Fees 2011-12
|One time or Bi-Annual fee payments:
(A manual payment will need to be made for each of these options.)
Dear SWCS families,
A couple weeks ago, an email went out about new supply and fieldwork fees that we are requesting each family contribute for the upcoming school year. We wanted to send out some context about the nature and purpose for asking for these fees.
Over the course of the year, the staff determined that the processes for paying for field trips and obtaining supplies were terribly inefficient: they required much work for the staff and parents on a weekly/monthly basis, headaches for the office for tracking the collections, and too much inventory for certain supplies and not nearly enough for others. We did some research into how other charter/public schools were handing these problems, and we found that the trend is shifting to this model of asking the parents to contribute for these expenses either monthly or up front at the beginning of the school year. We discussed this over the course of a few board meetings, and then voted during the July meeting to enact the $100 per fee per child policy. The amount was determined by figuring out what the field work fee per class was during '10-'11, adding to that projected new costs such as bus transportation and similar that would be required as our class sizes have grown, and then going through the books to see what we spent on supply fees out of the general fund. The numbers we came up with were inline - and in some cases far below - what other similar schools ask. We realize that especially for families with two or more students in the school what these fees represent, and it was our intention from the get go to allow families the option of setting up a monthly deduction via the SWCS Paypal account in lieu of a single up front contribution to somewhat mitigate the impact which works out to about $20 per student per school month.
As many of our families know all too well, SWCS runs on an extremely tight budget. The revenue we get from the state is just barely enough to cover our basic expenses; moreover, it is about half of what a non-charter PPS school is allocated on a per student basis. Family contributions are therefore essential if we are to maintain our excellent staff and also grow our offerings - whether that be building a proper outside play space or enhancing our curriculum - without having to increase our class sizes to upwards of 30 students per class much like PPS and the surrounding districts. In '10-'11, our families contributed over $50,000 to our budget through general donations, script and similar programs, and the auction. That amount allowed us to break even on a cash flow basis, and the quality of our school depends on growing that participation even more. In '11-'12 we will be streamlining our fundraising apparatus, eliminating some smaller events to focus on a monthly giving program kicking off in September as well as the auction in February.
This year promises to be a very exciting time for SWCS. Having obtained our first permanent home and the promise of establishing an excellent extended community will only help us grown and prosper. Your field work fees will go directly to some exciting field work experiences, such as Zenger Farms (multiple classes, multiple trips), Central Library, Oaks Bottom, NW Children’s Theater, Opal Creek and the Oregon Food Bank to name a few.
Sincerely, SWCS Board.