• PLEASE HELP TODAY

    Send funds
    Write your check to LICA
    In the check memo, write:
         Fund Beach School
    Mail or deliver the check to:
         Beach School PTO
         3786 Centerview Road
         Lummi Island, WA 98262


    Attend the June 16, 2009 Ferndale School Board meeting for public input on the draft 2009-2010 budget.
  • Upcoming events

    June 16, 7:00 PM Ferndale School Board meeting to hear public input on the draft 2009-2010 FSD Budget.

    For other events, see Events Page or do a search for "events".
  • Contact us

  • Total # views

    • 1,013 pages visited

Common Questions & Answers

BEACH SCHOOL FUNDRAISING QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

(as of)  May 30, 2009

On May 19, 2009, The Lummi Island Community Association (LICA) and the Beach School PTO announced an unprecedented association that enables donations to LICA with Beach School in the memo section to be fully tax-deductible.  This is a first step in the PTO’s business plan, a multifaceted approach that includes fundraising, continued relationship building with the Ferndale School District and working with the legislature.

PHASE I

  • Raise $151,000 by June 15th. LICA’s non-profit status means all donations are tax- deductible.
  • Hold fundraising events including an Art & Bake Sale on May 23rd and a Silent Auction on June 6th.
  • Construct a website to reach out to the broader community and alumni of Beach School.
  • Donate funds raised to the Ferndale School District in the form of a grant.

PHASE II

  • Establish a non-profit Beach School Foundation.
  • Explore funding options, including grants.

PHASE III

  • Work with the state superintendent and legislature to update Remote & Necessary funding.
  • Lobby for revisions to statewide school funding, addressing unfunded mandates.

Questions and Answers to date:

Q – HOW LONG HAS THE PTO KNOWN ABOUT THE 2009-2010 BUDGET CRISIS AND WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR?

A –

  • April 1, 2009, we were invited to respond to a Ferndale School District website online questionnaire that asked the public to rank possible budget-cutting measures.  Beach School cuts first appeared at that time.
  • April 30, 2009, the PTO and community at large presented a compelling presentation to the superintendent and the school board that the school should neither be closed nor cut to a K-3 school.  The presentation included a willingness to partner with the district to find solutions.
  • May 6, 2009, the superintendent recommended to the board that the K-6 status of the school be maintained but that 1.4 of the certified teachers among other cuts be made for a total of $151,000.
  • May 7, 2009, the Beach School Staff developed an alternate list of budget cuts, including $22,000 in personal reductions in salary,  $45,000 for instructional aides, and $84,000 for bus, programs, secretarial time, supplies, and mowing.  Also on May 7th, the PTO began its campaign to stave off these cuts with its three-phase business plan.

Q – WHY IS THIS ONLY A ONE YEAR PROBLEM?

A – This immediate fundraising is part of a multi-faceted plan to address the systemic reason for the funding shortfall.

  1. Remote & Necessary funding is $10,600 this year because of the higher school enrollment.  This figure should increase to approximately $27,600 in the following year as the Beach School enrollment decreases.  This figure will continue to increase as the Beach School enrollment decreases.  Part of our long-range strategy is to work with state legislators to revisit the Remote & Necessary funding formula.  We are working with the same state codes as years ago.
  2. We are forming the Beach School Foundation, which will focus on grant writing, long-term fundraising, and legislative advocacy.  Working with the legislature to update Remote & Necessary funding is essential to long-term stability.
  3. The incoming superintendent has worked with many smaller schools and may have funding suggestions.
  4. The district had a $1 million shortfall three years ago.  The district reserve fund should be built back up so we can have a tighter budget in the future.

Q – ISN’T THE REMOTE & NECESSARY MONEY ALREADY IN THE STATE APPORTIONMENT MONEY THAT COMES IN?

A – Yes, it is formulated at the state level and given to the school district.

Q – WHERE CAN I FIND THE FERNDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET?

A – The 2009-2010 budget is still in the ‘proposed’ stage.  Until the FSD board votes to approve it, changes are still possible.  Currently, the vote is scheduled for June 15th.  The Beach School PTO team is still trying to negotiate less drastic cuts.  Moreover, because the district receives funds from the state (a big source of the cuts) and the state still doesn’t know exactly how much tax and other revenues it has for the next year, the actual budget is apt to remain flexible for some time, perhaps through the end of the summer.  The 2008/2009 budget can be found on the OSPI website at: http://www.k12.wa.us/SAFS/reports.asp.  Select “Ferndale” in the pull down menu. Click on “F-195 Budget”.

Q – WHAT WOULD IT COST TO KEEP EVERYTHING INTACT?

A – $151,000.  The PTO is in negotiations to lower this figure if possible.

Q – THE CURRENT LEVY WAS PASSED TO FUND THE TECHNOLOGY FUND.  WON’T IT ANGER SOME VOTERS THAT WE ARE SPENDING FUNDS ON TECH SUPPLIES WHEN TEACHERS ARE BEING CUT?

A –The tech levy is a capital project and those funds cannot be redirected.

Q – WHY HASN’T BEACH SCHOOL BENEFITED FROM PAST LEVY AND BOND FUNDS?

A – We have received some levy and bond funds.  Beach School has not always been able to take full advantage of funding opportunities since we have not always had representatives on key committees.  Anyone wishing to get more involved should contact Judy Thomas at 383-9440.

Q – HAVE THERE BEEN ISSUES WITH THE CURRENT DISTRICT ACCOUNTING  DEPARTMENT?

A – The school principal’s role is to protect the school’s interests.  Jerry Jenkins, the interim superintendent, is a good choice and has asked to be kept informed.  Incoming Superintendent Linda Quinn has indicated she will be visiting the school and the island this summer and indicates a desire to understand our school and community.  Most importantly, our current PTO has been working to strengthen our participation in the budgeting process and strengthen our district relationships.

Q – EXACTLY WHAT IS THE DISTRICT-WIDE BUDGET CUT NUMBER?

A – The projected shortfall is $1.4 million.  In an effort to be conservative, the district is currently proposing $2.2 million in budget cuts, so we are in the process of negotiating a lower number for the school’s budget cut.

Q – HOW DO OUR BUDGET CUTS COMPARE TO THOSE OF OTHER SCHOOLS?

A – Other schools are experiencing a smaller cut than our 32% cut, but they are experiencing cuts in programs.  Overall, 16 Ferndale teachers have not had their contracts renewed in light of district-wide budget cuts.  Beach School was targeted because our overall cost per student of $8,074 is higher than the average $4,967 cost per student at the other Ferndale elementary schools.  The cut is couched as a strategic cut. We have a very strong program and it is important to protect what we have.  Raising the money right now gives us the wiggle room necessary to address the legal and legislative aspects in Phase II of our plan.  We are approaching the situation on all levels.  Anyone who can offer legal or legislative expertise is encouraged to join these efforts.  At this point we have two grant writers willing to take on the Beach School Foundation aspect of the plan.

Q – ISN’T THIS UNFAIR?

A – Unfortunately, this is where we are. If we do not raise the money, our budget will be cut, fair or unfair.  We have been working to keep our school open for the past 60 – 75 days, and now are working to bridge the funding gap. Ever since our presentation before the board on April 30th, they see us as responsible adults with a can-do attitude who put our children first.  We have one teacher back who had been targeted initially.  We are riding a tide of goodwill and we need to stay positive to succeed.  We are the David in the David and Goliath story.  We need to stay solid as a rock and not splinter.

Q – WOULD ACCEPTING MORE OFF-ISLAND STUDENT ENROLLMENT SPREAD FIXED COSTS AND IMPROVE OUR COST PER STUDENT?

A – It would spread fixed costs, but reduce our Remote & Necessary state funding so we are not pursuing that.

Q – DOESN’T LUMMI ISLAND CONTRIBUTE MORE TAX MONEY TO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT THAN OTHER AREAS?

A – Yes.  Lummi Island homeowners account for 7% of the levy and bond dollars raised by the school district while just 2% of the student enrollment (K-12) comes from the island.  However, levy and bond dollars are used only for specific projects like the technology upgrade and are not part of the basic education funds.

Q – WHAT IF WE RAISE ONLY PART OF THE $151,000?

A – If less than the total $151,000 is received, the Beach School Elementary Staff – the people who best understand what our children need most – will prioritize what’s most important.  The current priority list focuses on teaching staff, certified teachers first and then aides.

Q – WHO WILL MAKE SURE THE GRANT CONTRACT SPECIFICATIONS ARE CORRECT?

A – We will work with Michael Berres, Beach School’s principal.

Q – HOW CAN WE BE SURE THAT THE MONEY RAISED WILL BE USED AT BEACH SCHOOL AND NOT IN ANOTHER PART OF THE DISTRICT?

A – The funds will be presented to the district in the form of a grant for specific purposes.  In this format, we will be able to specify how the money will be used, when the money will be used, and specify the documentation required to confirm its use.  A grant is a legal document so if the stipulations are not followed, there is a legal process for the return of those dollars.

Q – IS JUNE 15TH THE END OF OUR NEGOTIATING TIME?

A – This is the deadline established by Dr. Lehnert.  The board and the district are in ongoing financial meetings, and Dr. Berres foresees a lowering of the original figure.

Q – IS JUNE 15TH THE END OF OUR FUNDRAISING EFFORTS?

A – The goal is to establish a foundation so there will be ongoing events.  If we do not raise the entire $151,000, we will be actively seeking funds throughout the summer in order to reemploy our entire staff in the fall.

Q – HOW IS THE COMMUNITY BEING CONTACTED FOR DONATIONS?

A – The Tome, Brown Betty, island-wide informational meetings, and flyers are being used to spread the word that tax-deductible donations can be made through LICA.  At the website https://lummibeachschoolpto.wordpress.com/ islanders can find updated information.  We are also encouraging islanders to call friends and family members, and an initiative is underway to reach Beach School alumni.

Q – WHY IS THE LUMMI ISLAND COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION THE FINANCIAL MEDIATOR?  HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT CHECKS MADE OUT TO LICA FOR THE BEACH SCHOOL FUND WILL GO TO THE FUND?

A – The Beach School PTO does not currently have non-profit status, but LICA does.  Kate Underwood, the PTO Treasurer, and Paul Davis, the LICA Treasurer, are working hand in hand to make sure it is a transparent process.  Donations are sent to the PTO at the school where amounts are recorded and acknowledgements sent.  Paul then deposits donations in a sub-account of the LICA account. The LICA tax-ID number will be included on all thank you notes distributed to each contributor.  Funds will be held and distributed from this LICA account until the Beach School Foundation and its account can be established.  Distributions will be made to the school district in the form of a grant that includes specific instructions as to the money’s use.  Kate will manage tax reporting for LICA for the next two years as part of the agreement.

Q – WHEN WILL THE FOUNDATION BE ESTABLISHED?

A – A Board of Directors is being established and will be announced soon.

Q – WHAT HAPPENED TO THE IDEA OF CUTTING THE SCHOOL TO A K-3 SCHOOL?

A – A K-3 school would have been too small and would have eventually led to the closing of the school.  It is quite an accomplishment that we have kept the school Kindergarten through 6th Grade.  All of the island’s organizations are coming together and keeping the school and the community strong.

Q – DO WE STILL OWN THE LAND ON WHICH THE SCHOOL WAS BUILT?

A – No.  The deed was quit claimed to the school district with the understanding that it would be used for education.

Q – WHAT ARE THE UPCOMING EVENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS EFFORT?

A – The public is invited to attend all of the following:

  1. District Budget Work Session – Friday, June 5, 2 – 4 pm
  2. Lummi Island Silent Auction – Saturday, June 6, 6:30 pm
  3. District Budget Public Hearing with Draft of Budget – June 11-12 (TBA)
  4. Lummi Island Fundraising Efforts Reported to the District – June 15
  5. Final District Budget Approval – June 24

Q – WHERE WILL UPDATED ANSWERS TO OUR QUESTIONS BE MADE AVAILABLE?

A – The most current status of our findings will always be made available here  https://lummibeachschoolpto.wordpress.com/

Q – WHERE CAN OTHER QUESTIONS BE DIRECTED?

A – Kate Underwood is serving as the official district liaison in this effort.  Further questions can be directed to her via the “Response” form below, or by using the  “Contact Us” feature (left column).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: