Dear Edison Families,
You’re about to start hearing so much about Come Sail Away, Edison’s Spring Auction and Gala, which will take place on 6 pm on March 21 at the Alameda Ballroom. This is an fabulous party, and we want each of you to buy tickets now and attend!
But this is more than just a party; it's also a vitally important fundraising event that will shape your children's educational experience.
PTA Fundraising is Essential to a Quality Edison Education
As you all know, AUSD (like many districts in California) is facing major funding constraints. AUSD is cutting every single penny that it can, in an attempt to raise teacher salaries and meet its baseline obligations.
That means that the district is not funding anything “extra” at Edison. We get a small allocation from the district (less than $50,000), which we primarily use to pay for a reading interventionist. And that’s about it. The district doesn’t fund anything else.
That's where you come in. Through the PTA, you fund everything at Edison that the district doesn't. Here’s just a partial list of what you, through the PTA, are making possible:
- Our new art teacher and all art supplies
- Our garden science program, including our garden science teacher
- Kindergarten music and all music supplies
- Soul Shoppe, our anti-bullying and social-emotional learning program
- All school supplies, including paper, pencils, Kleenex, crayons, and much more
- Chromebooks for every third, fourth, and fifth grader
- All field trips
- In-classroom enrichment programs
- School counseling
- Library books
- Recess equipment
- An award-winning and expanding service learning curriculum
- And so much more
In the midst of Measure A, we sometimes are asked if the PTA or parents could just give money directly to teachers to raise their salaries. Unfortunately, the answer is no. As part of California PTA, we cannot fund regular teacher salaries - nor add to their salary. However, the PTA can and does provide essential other services for our school, freeing up district money to be used for teacher salaries.
We also are sometimes asked if the PTA really needs more money. In a word - yes. There’s so much we could do to invest in our school; just look at some of our peer schools, like Chabot Elementary in Oakland and Otis Elementary down the street in Alameda, for examples. And things get more expensive every year. We are at risk, this year, of not even being able to maintain our existing programs. With additional funding, the PTA could:
- Maintain our existing programs, which grow more expensive every year
- Fund additional staff positions, including reading or math intervention aides, general classroom aides, and recess monitors
- Invest in the physical plant of our school with upgraded shade structures and air filters for classrooms during poor air quality days
- Fund a STEAM instructor, like our garden and art teachers, to provide hands-on engineering experience, and even a Maker Lab; Otis Elementary does this successfully
- Fund additional teacher requests for classroom libraries, equipment, and other resources
- Fund programs to help reduce the achievement gap, including Homework Club
- Fund after-school second-language instruction
The Auction Is Edison's Single Most Important Fundraiser
Why an auction? Because it is the biggest fundraiser for our school, bringing in over half of our income for the PTA Budget! Our auction and party event is almost entirely based on volunteers, community donations, and sponsorships. We do pay for some things - like the venue and caterer -- but the things we pay for are necessary to put on an event such as ours, and most are discounted.
We have, in the past, attempted to raise sufficient PTA funds without an auction; those efforts have failed. Even now, the vast majority of our funding is raised through the auction, rather than through direct donations or even the Readathon. In short, an auction is the single-best way to raise money for our kids.
The Auction is also a celebration of our community here at Edison. At the beginning of the year, I said that one of our goals this year was inclusion – to make sure that everyone is welcomed in the Edison family. The Auction is a party for all of us. Tickets are pay-as-you-wish and we don’t care what you pay, what you wear, or what you buy; we just want you to come celebrate with us.
Finally, there are so many ways to participate in the Auction! Even if you can’t attend, you can:
- Bid on the online auction
- Donate something to the auction, like a hosted party, a special experience, or a gift from the heart, like homemade cookies or homemade dinners
- Encourage and invite your friends to come to the auction too! This is especially great for families with children who may not be at Edison yet, but who will start at our school in the next few years.
- Pass the link along to friends and family – they can all take advantage of the crazy discounts on cool items
- Make a donation to the PTA
We are all incredibly busy, and life in the Bay Area can be intense. In the midst of all that, on our little island, we are building a safe, warm community at Edison, not just for our kids but for our families. Let’s take a moment to rejoice in that, and invest in our kids’ future together. See you at the auction!
Gretchen Hoff Varner, on behalf of the the Edison PTA Executive Board