In the past we have had muddled messaging regarding suggested donations, with donation “levels” ranging from $20 to $1,000, and a recommended donation of $375. This messaging seemed confusing, and we thought it would be better to set a single suggested donation number.
In setting a number we considered two factors: 1) what is the cost per student of the TLSP pka: adjunct program, and 2) what is “market” for requested per-student donations at area public schools.
Regarding the first factor, cost per student, starting this year the TLSP will be employees of Culver City School District, but ALLEM will be responsible for paying for 100% of the costs of the program. We have not received a full budget from the district, but the new suggested amount is based on our best estimate of per-student costs, as we expect that the costs of the program will increase now that they are district employees. This move was required by the district due to changes in California employment laws.
Regarding the second factor, “market” for donations, when we looked at suggested donations at other public schools, we found that a number of area schools ask parents to donate between $1,000 to $1,600 per student per year. The TLSP/ PKA: adjunct program is critical to what makes El Marino exceptional, but we recognize that we are not the only fundraising entity for the school, so we set the suggested donation amount below “market”.
In light of COVID and the uncertainty that brings for fundraising opportunities in the coming year, we are focusing on raising the bulk of the money we need for the TLSP during this Fall Pledge Drive. The more we raise now, the less we will have to bug parents for money throughout the rest of the year. If we are unable to fully fund the TLSP, then the district will simply lay off TLSP, so it is critical that we make sure we have sufficient funds to pay costs as they arise.