PTA Budget

Bonita Canyon PTA Budget and Spending Update… Where did my $’s go this year?

This is good time to take a look at what we’ve done, what we’re going to do, and what you can do to help your child get the best education possible. Please take the time to read this, educate yourself on all of the issues and facts, and make informed choices about how and where to put your money.

Let’s look at some questions you’ve been asking: 

Is the money I donated to the Bonita Canyon PTA being spent on my child this year?

Yes. At the beginning of each academic year we present a budget for approval by our membership. It is your responsibility, as a PTA member, to attend our General Association Meetings, review the presented budget and make your Board accountable for how that money is spent. There are 4 meetings every year, at which time a full accounting of what has been spent to date and is still remaining across all category line items is presented. The budget is available in the front office PTA filing cabinet for any member to review at any time. At year end, a complete reconciliation of income and expenses is presented. We have been successful in accurately projecting the amounts we need to continue to support our school and, diligent in spending those dollars you have donated to within a few hundred dollars in most categories. If there is any money left unspent at year end, it carries over to the next year and is kept ‘in reserve’ to cover any shortfall in our projected ‘income’ in the next year’s budget.

How do you determine where the money is spent?

It’s complicated! Get involved and come to a General Association Meeting to learn more about it. In general, there are standard categories that don’t change much from year to year….these are programs and support items/services that our school cannot survive without. The PTA board works closely with your Principal and staff to find out what your child’s needs are and where to best allocate the funds. It is an ever changing process as we face new challenges from State budget cuts and stricter restrictions imposed on us as to how we can spend your dollars. These restrictions come from several sources and prevent us from spending your dollars on some key issues that we are all concerned about….

Can we use our PTA budget to reduce class size and hire more teachers?

Unfortunately, no. We have restrictions imposed on us that will not allow us to pay teacher salaries or hire more staff or teachers assistants above and beyond the allocation we already use each year. In the State of California, the public school system is set up to provide equitable access to education to all children. It would not ‘be fair nor equitable’ for our school to have a smaller teacher/student ratio than other elementary schools in our district. We all pay our share of taxes to the state, and those revenues trickle down through the district and dictate the total number of teachers that can be hired each year, and those have to be equally divided across all schools in the district. Getting involved in your district politics and voting for new measures on local ballots to lift these restrictions/reallocate how dollars can be spent will make a difference, but not in time for next year, or the year after, or the year after that. Legislative change takes years to implement (your District PTA Council has an advocacy committee that works on this year round to bring about these changes).

If the PTA can’t hire teachers and keep our class sizes from expanding, who can? IPSF -the Irvine Public School Foundation. Yes, your PTA is working in collaboration with IPSF to attack this problem for our district. Let’s clear up a misconception: IPSF is not a competitive foundation trying to ‘steal dollars away from your school to spend at somebody else’s’. To be ‘fair and equitable’ across all schools in our district, the Irvine Public School Foundation is the only way your dollars can directly impact this issue. You recently received a plea for support for IPSF. Your financial contribution is critical to maintaining our class size, keeping teachers on the District payroll, and continuing with critical educational programs. Without your funds, we are in jeopardy of losing more teachers, increasing class sizes and offering fewer programs in the fall.

So who should I give my money to so my child benefits next year? BOTH Bonita Canyon PTA and IPSF. Only you can decide which issues are most important to you and your child’s needs and decide how much you are able to contribute to each pot. BUT…in order to give our students the best possible education, it will take the combined efforts of both organizations working in unison with the Irvine Unified School District, to make sure that all avenues to provide funding for maintaining class sizes, programs, support staff, educational supplies (computers, books, pens, paper etc.) are available to your child this fall. All three organizations meet regularly to review what each is contributing to so there is no overlap, and to ensure that every dollar you donate does go directly back to your child. To get the most balanced funding and education, you will need to contribute to both PTA and IPSF…you cannot expect a smaller class of students to excel if the courses are no longer available and they don’t have the basic books or computers to work with -it is a joint effort.

Please remind me…what exactly did my dollars get spent on at Bonita Canyon this year?

We will be posting all the items in your child’s classroom that has been provided by your direct contributions.

What can I do to make a difference for my child?

Get involved. Find out the facts and don’t listen to hearsay. Donate, both to the IPSF now to protect class sizes and programs for the fall, and to the Bonita Canyon PTA when you renew your membership for the Fall Pledge Drive and contribute to the Spring Fundraiser.

These are trying times for our public schools. You are fortunate that your child is attending school in the Irvine Unified School District, even better that it’s Bonita Canyon Elementary. We are better positioned than just about any other district in the State of California to weather these statewide budget cuts and continue to excel. Please be as generous as possible and donate to both Bonita Canyon PTA and IPSF -investing in your child’s future is the best return you will ever get on your dollar.

For more information, please attend the next PTA General Association Meeting. Dates are posted on our website.