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Annual Fund Q & A

Annual Fund Q & A

Frequently Asked Questions

 

The generous financial support of our parent community is the reason that Sleepy Hollow School continues to provide one of the most enriched and well-rounded elementary school experiences in the state, despite the continued trend of inadequate state funding for public schools.

 

Each year the Sleepy Hollow Parents' Club, Inc. (SHPCI) must raise $1,000 per child in order to meet our financial and educational commitments to the students and staff of Sleepy Hollow Elementary School.  It is imperative that we meet this financial goal, if we are to avoid serious impact to those programs you and your family have come to rely on as part of daily life at Sleepy Hollow.

 

While other schools raise funds through auctions and parties, SHPCI has elected to raise all necessary funds through a simple, one-time, check-writing campaign to support The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund. Each family’s minimum contribution is $1,000 per child - the dollar amount SHPCI will spend this year on programs and services for your child. The children of Sleepy Hollow School depend on your family's monetary support to address California’s financial shortfall in educational spending.  Please, do your part to solve the funding puzzle by generously donating to The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund.

 

FAQs:

  1. What is SHPCI and what does it do?
  2. Why do parents have to pay for basic educational programs and staff?
  3. What exactly does The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund pay for? Who decides which programs get funded and at what dollar amount?
  4. Didn’t Orinda just pass a new parcel tax? Is The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund necessary?
  5. What is the difference/relationship between The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund and the Educational Foundation of Orinda (EFO)?
  6. What is the impetus behind The SH Annual Fund – The Missing Piece campaign?
  7. What is the financial goal of The SH Annual Fund – The Missing Piece campaign?
  8. Are there different categories or levels for donations?
  9. Can you explain what a Matching Gift is?
  10. What if I can’t donate the recommended amount?
  11. Why the focus on 100% participation?
  12. When and how can I contribute?
  13. Is my contribution tax-deductible?
  14. Is this really a “one-check” fundraising campaign? Will I be asked to give more time and money to other fundraising events?
  15. Will SHPCI host other community building activities or host parties?
  16. What is the difference between The Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund and the SHPCI dues?
  17. What happens if The Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund raises more money than is needed for this year?  Who decides how to spend that money?
  18. Who should I contact for additional information?

 

 

FAQ’s and Answers:

 

1. What is SHPCI and what does it do?

 

SHPCI, Sleepy Hollow Parents’ Club, Inc., was created to promote the welfare of students and bring about an integrated, focused partnership between OUSD administrators, teachers, staff and parents. SHPCI’s fundraising, communications and educational enrichment efforts are led by parent volunteers, including 12 Executive Board Members and 64 General Position Holders. In addition, there are innumerable parents who support Sleepy Hollow School by serving as Room Parents; Think First Facilitators; classroom, library, computer lab and garden helpers; Ichabod’s Gang Members; field trip drivers; Pumpkin Patch and Musical Theater volunteers; and more. 

 

 

 

2. Why do parents have to pay for basic educational programs and staff?

 

There are two primary factors contributing to the lack of state funding for our school. The first factor was caused by a 1968 court decision, Serrano v. Priest, which ordered that schools be funded equally throughout the state. This decision happened in response to the educational climate of the 1950s through the early ‘70s, when the majority of California’s schools had a plethora of resources and programs - but in contrast, schools attended by poor and minority students often lacked those same resources and programs. During those times, communities with abundant property tax revenues vastly outspent poor districts when it came to education.  The lawsuit had good intentions, but unintended consequences. Rather than raising the level of schools in poor communities to the level of schools in affluent communities, top performing, affluent schools were imposed with ceilings, or revenue limits, on a per student basis.  Unfortunately, Orinda remains at the bottom of the state funding list. 

 

The second reason for the erosion of state funding on education: the 1978 passage of Proposition 13.  Prop 13 has dramatically reduced the amount of local property tax revenue available to our schools.  On a national level, when factoring in the cost of living, California’s schools are among the lowest funded in the nation, 46th out of 50. Subsequently, school districts throughout California have had to rely on the financial support of parents and community members to fill the gap to meet essential school needs.

 

We cannot afford to take Sleepy Hollow School’s excellence for granted. Public funding alone will never guarantee academic excellence for our children. Simply stated, our private giving to SHPCI is essential to the continued success of our school and each of our children.

 

 

 

3. What exactly does The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund pay for?  Who decides which programs get funded and at what dollar amount?

 

The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund must raise a minimum of $1,000 per child this school year.  Your donation will pay for the following essential programs and support staff:

  • K-3, class size preservation (20 students or fewer), funded in partnership with EFO
  • All Classroom Instructional Assistants (Teacher Aides) salaries and benefits
  • Psychologist salary and benefits
  • PE Teacher salary and benefits
  • Librarian salary and benefits, Library Services, Instructional Materials, and Technology Upgrades
  • Math Specialist
  • Reading Intervention
  • Teacher and Staff Support including continued education for teachers, front office staff support

SHPCI works hand-in-hand with the OUSD School Board, OUSD administration, Sleepy Hollow School administration, teachers, parents and Parents' Clubs from all the other Orinda elementary schools, the Educational Foundation of Orinda (EFO) and OIS to make sure the money raised through The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund is targeted to its greatest need. Each spring, SHPCI sets a new budget for the upcoming school year that is linked to student enrollment.  The budget process is open to all Sleepy Hollow School families. 

 

We invite you to become actively involved in the Sleepy Hollow Parents' Club and the decisions that affect our children daily.  The SHPCI budget for 2017-2018 can be found on the Sleepy Hollow School website under SHPC Financials.

 

 

 

4. Didn't Orinda pass a parcel tax in 2009 to support education?  Is The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund necessary?

 

Yes, and definitely yes. On March 3, 2009, the citizens of Orinda approved a $124 increase in the parcel tax to support Orinda schools. Thank you, Orinda! OUSD uses those funds to make up some of the shortfall from the state. Unfortunately, it is not enough to compensate for the deficiency in educational state funding.  Therefore the money raised through The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund continues to be critical to our success in bridging the gap between what our school has, and what our school needs.  In fact, the local community, through the Parcel Tax, EFO, and individual school fundraising now provides 33% of the OUSD budget.

 

 

 

5. What is the difference/relationship between The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund and the Educational Foundation of Orinda ("EFO")?

 

The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund and the Educational Foundation of Orinda (EFO) are two distinct but equally important pieces of our school’s overall funding puzzle.

 

The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund raises money primarily from Sleepy Hollow parents (but also through grandparents, friends, local business and Matching Gifts from participating Companies) and contributes those funds to Sleepy Hollow School.

 

EFO is a separate organization that raises money from the entire Orinda community and funds programs at each of the elementary schools, OIS and Miramonte. EFO pays for 100% of Sleepy Hollow School’s Art and Music instruction and a portion of K-3 class size preservation.

 

Sleepy Hollow School's annual budget depends on the funds it receives from both The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund and EFO. Without these critical sources of monetary support, Sleepy Hollow School would be faced with a huge gap in its operating budget for 2017-2018.  It is essential that all Sleepy Hollow families contribute to both the Annual Fund and EFO. Our goal is 100% participation by Sleepy Hollow families in both funds.

 

 

 

6. What is the impetus behind the Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund - The Missing Piece campaign?

 

Seven years ago SHPCI’s Executive Board decided to simplify the fundraising process by introducing a single check-writing campaign to raise funds. This decision was made after much analysis and discussion, including a study of successful check-writing campaigns launched by neighboring schools: OIS and Del Rey Elementary, and various educational foundations; including Orinda’s EFO, Tiburon’s Foundation for Reed Schools, and the Hillsborough Schools Foundation. In addition, data was gathered from both the spring 2009 and 2010 Site Council Parent Surveys. Results and feedback revealed broad-based support for a simplified, less volunteer-intense fundraising effort. 

 

An added benefit of the check-writing campaign is that, unlike funds raised through auctions, these family donations can be increased through corporate matching gifts (see Q,9).  Last year, about $55,000 was raised from corporate matching gifts. 

 

 

 

7. What is the financial goal of The Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund - The Missing Piece campaign?

 

The goal of the The Missing Piece campaign is to raise $1,000 per child - the amount SHPCI will spend this year on each child. With your support we will reach our goal of 100% participation and enable SHPCI to continue funding Sleepy Hollow School’s essential programs and staff. 

 

 

 

8. Are there different categories or levels for donations?

 

Yes! Please consider the following levels of commitment, and corresponding gestures of appreciation:

 

 

SHS

SPONSOR

 

Sponsor

Bronze

Silver

Gold

1 Child

$1,000

$1,250

$2,500

$5,000

2 Children

$2,000

$2,500

$5,000

$10,000

3 Children

$3,000

$3,750

$7,500

$15,000

4 Children

$4,000

$5,000

$10,000

$20,000

 

If you are able to contribute an amount greater than the $1,000 per child recommended minimum donation, please do so.  Our children and school will benefit even more.  Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. 

 

All SHS Donors at the Sponsor, Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels will receive an invitation to the Spring Donor Appreciation Party.

 

 

 

9. Can you explain what a Matching Gift is?

As a benefit to the community and their employees, many employers sponsor Matching Gift programs that match their employee’s charitable contributions.

 

If your company has a Matching Gift program, please request a matching gift form from your employer, make your donation, and then submit your request form to your employer.  We will do the rest. The impact of your gift to Sleepy Hollow may be doubled or possibly tripled! Last year Sleepy Hollow School received about $55,000 from corporate matching gifts.

 

Companies may match gifts made by retirees and/or spouses, and sometimes both parents have companies that will match a donation.  Check with your employer today!

 

 

 

10. What if I can’t donate the recommended amount?

 

We understand that for some families this may be a difficult time, but to maintain the tradition of educational excellence that parents and the community have grown to expect, The Fund needs to raise $1,000 per student. 

Some families can and do contribute more. For other families, this amount is higher than they can afford at this time. We ask that each family contribute an amount that is meaningful and significant for them.  We hope that all families contribute what they can, since it takes a broad-based effort to support a community resource like Sleepy Hollow.  Please do donate what you are able to now, and if your circumstances change, please revisit your donation.

Families can make a one-time donation, or contribute in 8 monthly installments.  If by installment, this option must be elected by September 30, 2017.

 

 

 

11. Why the focus on 100% participation?

 

Many of the donors who make large gifts are happy to do so knowing that other families may not be able to participate at the levels they would like. However, having broad community support is important also as a signal to large donors: they are making a very valuable contribution to an effort that is viewed as extremely important by the whole community – everyone is on board and everyone contributes what they can. We all share the burden as well as the benefits. 

 

 

 

12. When and how can I contribute?

 

You can donate in a variety of ways.

 

1.  Write a check made payable SHPCI

a.  Drop off your check at the School office in the Annual Fund mail box located as you enter to the left of the front door, or

b.  Mail your check to The Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund, c/o Sleepy Hollow School, 20 Washington Lane, Orinda,  CA 94563

2.  Pay electronically via FutureFund:

a.  Register at FutureFund and select donations amounts for Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund based on the number of students in your family.

b.  Make a one-time donation, or elect to donate in 8 monthly installments (must be elected by September 30, 2017).

c.  Please note: SHPCI’s credit card collection provider charges a standard commission of approximately 3.5% or $35 of the recommended minimum contribution of $1,000 per child. While this fee may not sound like a lot, the credit card commission fees do add up. If SHPCI raises $400,000 via credit card payments, our Parents’ Club will be charged a total of $14,000 in fees. Please consider paying your contribution by check, allowing even more of your donation to directly fund Sleepy Hollow School’s programs and staff.

3.  Donate stocks or bonds to SHPCI

4.  Direct your United Way contributions to SHPCI

5.  Use Corporate Matching -please check with your employer’s HR department today.  You can double or triple (if both parents have companies that provide a match) your donation.  Last year we raised about $55,000 dollars in Corporate Matching!

 

 

 

13. Is my contribution tax-deductible?

 

Yes, your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law.   Your SHPCI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. SHPCI’s Federal Tax ID number is 20-2272548. 

 

 

 

14. Is this really a “one-check” fundraising campaign? Will I be asked to give more time and money to other fundraising events?

 

The Missing Piece campaign is a simple approach to fundraising. This fundraising initiative is comprised of only one campaign, and one donation per family. You will not be asked to financially contribute to, or volunteer for, a multitude of fundraisers which in years past have included the Spring Auction; the BASC Building Fund; the Estate Sale; and Walkathon. An additional benefit to this simplified approach - SHPCI will keep it’s fundraising costs low which will in turn equate to more money directly funding your child’s education.

 

 

 

15. Will SHPCI host other community building activities or parties?

 

We look forward to continuing Sleepy Hollow School’s traditional community building activities, the events that bring us together, such as Pumpkin Patch and the Family Picnic. In addition, in April SHPCI will host a Spring Parent Appreciation Party for all families who participated in the annual fund. 

 

 

 

16. What is the difference between the Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund campaign and SHPCI dues?

 

Each contribution will fund the following separate initiatives: 

 

The Sleepy Hollow School Annual Fund

 The Missing Piece Campaign

($1,000 recommended minimum contribution per child;

tax-deductible; and can be matched by your employer)

 

  • K-3 class size preservation (20 students or less), funded in partnership with EFO
  • All Classroom Instructional Assistants (Teacher Aides), a Psychologist and a PE Teacher
  • All Library Education, Library Services, Instructional Materials and Technology Upgrades
  • Teacher and Staff Support including continued education for teachers, front office staff support
  • Math Specialist
  • Reading Intervention

 

 

SHPCI Dues

($350 per child)

 

EVENTS:

All School Picnic & Field Day

Assemblies & Cultural Events

Back to School Night

Character Education/Think First

Kindergarten Welcome

New Family Welcome

Open House

Parent Education Seminars

Pumpkin Patch

Scary Story Night

Spring Arts & Music Festival

Teacher Appreciation Week

Welcome Day

 

 

 

 

 

SERVICES:

Back to School Student Supplies

Birthday Books for Library

Campus Beautification/Garden

Classroom Activities

Classroom Parties

Directory

Emergency Preparedness

Helping Hands

Hospitality

Hollow Log Newsletter

Instructional Supplies

Marquee

Sleepy Hollow Website

Staff Appreciation

Technology in the Classrooms 

Teacher & Class Aide Appreciation

Volunteer Appreciation

Yearbook

 

 

 

17. What happens if The Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund raises more money than is needed for this year?  Who decides how to spend that money?

 

Recommendations will be made by the School Site Council and SH Parent Club Executive Board, or can be brought forth by the parent community at large to be voted on (with quorum) at the SHPCI General Meetings.  Annual Fund dollars will be spent on what parents deem as the school’s greatest need.  Our goal is to direct Annual Fund money in a timely manner to programs and initiatives that directly impact our current students.

 

Over the years The Sleepy Hollow Annual Fund has paid for installation of Smartboards in all classrooms, new lab computers, roaming laptop carts, AV upgrades throughout the school, as well as additional campus upgrades including a new outdoor seating area behind the Multi-Purpose room.

 

The process is open to all Sleepy Hollow School families and we invite and encourage you to become actively involved in the Sleepy Hollow Parents' Club and the decisions that affect our children every day.  

 

 

 

18. Who should I contact for additional information?

 

For additional information, please email SHPCI's Executive Board, at SleepyHollowfund@gmail.com or Kristan Mayer and Laura Raffetto.