SchoolCARE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, committed to the development of long-term funding support for quality education in Albany Unified School District. We believe that the state does not provide adequate funding for the level of excellence we expect in Albany schools, and if we want high quality education we have to help pay for it. Our mission objectives are:
- To assist in restoring programs and mitigating state budget cuts. To fill the gap between immediate fiscal needs and long-term solutions, so that children don't lose valued programs.
- To actively pursue a wide range of funding sources that effectively meet this community's long-term needs, including grants, individual and business donations, Scrip, and special events.
- To draw representation from all sites and to work cooperatively with other groups that support excellence, including the District, the Albany Education Foundation, PTAs, school site councils, and booster organizations.
Who are we?
We are you. We are community volunteers. We’re parents, teachers, and residents who care about the educational opportunities available to Albany’s children. We’re working in cooperation with the long-established Albany Education Foundation, the various school site councils and PTAs, athletic and music boosters, school administrators, and anyone who cares about preserving our quality schools.
How is the money raised?
We raise money primarily through individual and family donations. Some people donate via credit card or check on a monthly basis; others make one or two larger contributions. Secure online donation is available through JustGive.org; donation forms are available on our website; contributions can be dropped off in any school office. To allow school principals and departments to plan their courses and schedules for the following school year, we must raise money before summer break so that teaching positions and programs can be included in the District’s fall budget. Therefore, the major fundraising activity takes place in the spring, with a citywide brochure drop and phonathon to school families. Each year our message is simple: The more money we raise, the more positions we can restore.
How are needs identified?
The money is spent on site-determined needs. Throughout the school year, SchoolCARE works at each school site to involve all stakeholders – parents, teachers, students, administrators – to examine the needs and priorities of each site, identify potential funding sources, and find ways to maximize available resources to meet as many of those needs as possible. Each spring the schools provide SchoolCARE with a wish list, and fundraising continues through the early summer in order to fund as many of those items as possible. We allocate funds equitably among the schools, in keeping with student populations at each level.
How are SchoolCARE funds allocated?
SchoolCARE operates on a principal of equity for all schools. The level of funding support for elementary, middle, and high school generally reflects the percentage share of the student population at those levels. SchoolCARE does not directly allocate funds to sites or give grants. SchoolCARE works with the schools to identify their needs and priorities and then pledges to the District to pay for those specific items, so we know exactly what our community dollars are paying for. SchoolCARE allocates all available resources to fund positions and programs from the schools’ site-created wish lists. We work with the schools to look at additional funding sources, to maximize revenue to cover the greatest number of priorities possible. For example, PTAs, site councils, and/or SchoolCARE might combine funds to address a particular teaching position. Individually, each pot of money might not be enough but, by shifting the loads, together they might restore a teaching position or fill another identified need.
How much should I contribute through SchoolCARE?
SchoolCARE asks every Albany family to consider an annual donation of $500 per child enrolled in Albany schools. While we understand that not all families can afford that level of support – although many do so by contributing $40 per month via credit card – it is important to recognize the level of contribution that is necessary to preserve quality education in Albany. SchoolCARE is the only school fundraising organization paying for people; such as teachers, counselors, librarians and aides, who work with students during the regular school day. For perspective, consider that it takes $15,000 – that’s 30 contributions of $500, to pay for a reading specialist one day a week at one elementary school; or to pay for one elective class at the high school or middle school.
SchoolCARE Board of Directors 2015-2016
Anne Marie Sanders