Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Public School in a Private-ish Community

I was excited to make a donation to the elementary school's never-ending fundraiser. Well, I've alway given a donation, of about $20 a year. And we are lots of customers at the pancake breakfast. I didn't think beyond that, because I could never have made the suggested donation of $500 per child each year, so I didn't even try. I gave something because I knew the committee could use that to show a high percentage of families participating in the fundraising.

Yeah, $500 per child. "It's much less than private school tuition" goes the argument. Also, there were charts comparing our school funding with Scarsdale, New York. Five hundred each is a lot of money, especially if, like me, you are someone who has procreated freely. No bulk rate guideline on the donations--after all, who around here has more than two children, spaced at least seven years apart?

The local kids, they're being raised very well, with great parental attention, with love and resources. Lots of resources. I like these local children, they're very sweet and sincere. And bright and talented. Not snotty, materialistic, or spoiled. They make nice friends for my kids, though I worry about mine having to compete against them to get into college. They're always going off to Guatamala to build orphanages and stuff like that. Apparently sacrifices are not the only way to raise children well.

I was excited to make a "real" donation to the fund, but I forgot to actually write the check.

And, hey, let's pretend that was on purpose. Recently I got the flyer that read: Donate during these two weeks, and the mystery philanthropist will match our funds. Cool. I almost felt like a venal and clever contract lawyer, writing more of a check than Ms. Mystery planned to match.

Also found out that week, it's the grandparents who write a lot of these suggested donation checks. So other people are living the $20 level.

Today there's a charming handmade poster by the school admin office. In crooked but legible writing, in utilitarian blue marker, it lets us know we raised $175,000 in our two weeks. Which will be matched.

I thought that was an astounding lot of money.

Money donated almost entirely not by me, I assure you.

It really is different out here.

But I should have figured that out at my first high school PTA budget meeting, when I found out that, as usual, the parents had supplemented their children's education by raising one million dollars. Now, I know the tax-supplied school budget is several million dollars, but the parents giving $1M blew me away.

Excuse me, I have some reading to do. To understand the big numbers.


Heidi Ashworth said...

Holy cow! 1 MIL? That's more than they do in my little rich patch of the world. It's nice to know that the kids are doing good things and aren't spoiled, etc. Not that I'm thinking about moving there once I become rich on my book or anything (as if!) hee hee

Heidi Ashworth said...

So, NRM, I haven't heard back from you about the book blog tour. Do you want to do it? If so do you want to do it Saturday or, er, well, Saturday looks like the only day that is still open. What do you think? You could post it before that if Sat. is too crazy, and I could just provide the link on my blog on Saturday. Whatever works. LMK--I would love it if you could (but only if you have nice things to say about my book--I'm fragile that way)

karen said...

I do like it that parents are invested in the education process - it makes a huge difference. I've done the private school thing, and your wallet gets very thin, and time gets stretched with fund raisers. And just when your kids grow up, you get to start writing those "grandparent" checks. The theory is that you're in a better place financially...hmmmmm...
On a different note: HEIDI - what book? You wrote a book? (I'm just being nosy, but I love books!)

JustRandi said...

Hi! I'm new to your blog - -I came over from Heidi's.

I'm probably blind as a, um really quirky and cute blind thing that I can't think of right now, but I can't find your story of how all this happened to you! Is it here somewhere?

I just love a good Cinderella story!!

Nouveau Me said...

JustRandi, you cute little star-nosed mole you, I think I took the original story off the blog months ago when my husband, Captain Awesome, had me filter out identifying details. Awesome is a brilliant academic science type with an entrepreneurial streak. He holds many patents which he developed and filed. Which I mostly saw as a time-consuming hobby. Guess what? It led to big money-making just like he always said it would.


The list I could recite of weird things I've had to sell for school fundraisers would astound you.

The best was when I peddled sausage for my high school FFA program.

Just the look of confusion on people's faces when they questioningly asked over and over, "What, you're selling.....sausage??!!??" was enough to make me giggle even now 20 years later.

Nouveau Me said...

sausage...yum. I wish our school sold sausage.

I caught Alton Brown on Good Eats teaching us how to make sausage on cable t.v. Made me want to buy a meat grinder very much. Like I need another time-consuming food hobby.