Q: What are the goals of the Davis Schools Foundation?
- To collaborate with DJUSD, school leaders, parents, business leaders and the community to make sure that public school children in Davis continue to receive high quality educational programming.
- To create an endowment fund that will serve as a safety net for programs at our schools during times of reduced state funding. This is a long-term goal.
Q: Why does DJUSD need an education foundation?
Our children are guaranteed a publicly supported education, but they are not guaranteed an excellent public education. We believe that the Davis community is committed to providing its children the best possible education. Because of the dramatic ups and downs in state funding, this community needs to develop its own reliable source of funding.
California ranks among the states as one of the lowest in per pupil funding, resulting in public schools that struggle to meet minimum standards for education. Many communities in California have already responded to the ever-decreasing amount of public funding by creating education foundations to support their schools. There are more than 400 education foundations in California, many of them founded more than 20 years ago. These foundations all represent communities where parents have decided to regain some control over the quality of their children’s education.
Q: How will Davis Schools Foundation money be spent and who will decide?
The programs supported by Davis Schools Foundation vary from year to year, based on priorities established by the Foundation’s board of directors. Before setting priorities, we gather input from DJUSD’s Board of Education and staff, PTAs, school site councils and other parent leaders.
Our grants to DJUSD are earmarked for specific programs. We monitor school finances to ensure that the grants are spent as intended.
Q: How efficiently does the foundation operate?
The foundation spends less than 5 percent of its budget on operating costs such as copying, advertising, fundraising expenses, insurance and fees for attorneys and an accountant. Whenever possible, we seek out pro bono contributions and in-kind donations.
Q: What is the relationship between the Davis Schools Foundation and DJUSD?
Davis Schools Foundation is an independent organization, formed to support excellent programming in the Davis public schools. To be successful, we must have a cooperative relationship with DJUSD. We seek input from the Board of Education, staff, principals and teachers regarding appropriate funding of programs.
Q: How does the Davis Schools Foundation work with individual schools and PTAs?
Many board members of the Davis Schools Foundation have worked on school PTAs, and the foundation strongly believes in the continuing importance of each school’s PTA. PTAs serve a vital role in defining the unique character of each site, creating a sense of community and financially supporting site-specific needs.
Davis Schools Foundation works with school communities, seeking input on district-wide programs to be funded by the foundation as well as help with the our fundraising efforts. To facilitate this mutually beneficial relationship, we enlist representatives from each school to serve as a liaison between the foundation and their school.
Just as the foundation seeks help from the PTAs, it also can help PTAs. PTA bylaws limit how PTA monies may be spent; for instance, PTAs generally cannot fund positions and cannot carry over funds from year to year beyond a minimum reserve. The foundation has no such limits and thus will be able to fulfill many needs unserved by PTAs. In addition, the foundation can address the broader concern of inequities that occur between schools sites because of the differing abilities of PTAs to raise monies.
Q: Can a donor earmark donations for a particular school?
No. Davis Schools Foundation’s support for programs can be felt at every school in DJUSD. Because the foundation supports district-wide programs, however, it cannot accept donations earmarked for a particular school.
Q: What protections are in place to ensure Davis Schools Foundation’s funds are properly managed?
The foundation’s funds are held in a local reputable bank. Our bylaws require that every check issued by the foundation has two authorized signatures. The bylaws also require that the foundation’s books be reviewed annually by an independent accountant.
Our treasurer is a CPA who provides regular financial reports to the board of directors. Included in the reports is a detailed listing of every check written.
Q: Does the Davis Schools Foundation write grant proposals?
The foundation hopes to develop grant writing as a source of funding but is not doing so at present.
Q: Doesn’t Davis already have an education foundation?
Yes! Davis Schools Foundation is one of five education foundations in Davis. Each has its unique focus, and we believe each is important to the quality of education in Davis:
- The Davis School Arts Foundation works with DJUSD to raise matching funds to support the arts in Davis schools.
- The Farm To School Connection promotes lifelong healthy eating habits via the Crunch Lunch program in Davis schools.
- The Blue & White Foundation exists to fund specific needs at Davis High School.
- The Bridge Foundation provides homework support to children of low-income families.
Q: Why would parents contribute to Davis Schools Foundation as opposed to directly to a school?
The Davis Schools Foundation encourages parents to donate to their children’s schools PTAs for site-specific needs. The foundation also believes parents’ donations to the foundation are essential, as the foundation funds programs that will benefit their children as they progress through the DJUSD system. The foundation will also support programs that may otherwise become unavailable throughout the district because of lack of funding. Donations to the foundation by parents demonstrate the community’s priority of quality Davis public schools and the broad support base necessary to attract larger contributors.