what we spend the money on, part deux

 In News

So if you have been mildly paying attention, you either learned in the fall or already knew, that our FunRun money goes to our PTA operating budget, which pays to run all the programs and events the PTA puts on for the calendar year.

So why do we have this auction?

The auction funds special projects.

How it works: the PTA (you guys) have a group of dedicated parents called the Long Range Planning Committee. In short: they plan, long range. They do this by surveying teachers and parents to identify school needs. Teachers can submit ideas for funding through an RFP submission. Then the committee meets and goes over ideas submitted to them and ranks them according to an established scoring process. Projects get funded by their score and the amount of money we have available.

So what has this funded in the past?

1. Computers. When we came to this school 6 years ago the computers had floppy disks. The first auction I attended corrected that by buying 60 computers that cost approximately 70 thousand dollars. Yes. You read that right.

2. Writers in the schools. This amazing program has been funded for the past 5 years. It helps kids become better writers though creative writing. This year we are funding grades 1st-5th to the tune of $42,000.00

3. The back playground. It used to be that the 4th and 5th graders had nothing to play on during recess. So they stood around and talked or played soccer. Now, they have something to burn that tween energy on-a gorgeous play structure that cost us $47,000.00.

4. Sound system in the cafeteria. We never had one. So any meeting, presentation, or performance that was done was over a very horrible microphone, or nothing at all. Now we can hear. That cost us another $34,000.00.

5. Outdoor shade structures. The two patio areas of the school used to be completely underutilized because of the blazing hot sun. Now, thanks to the auction, it’s only the humidity the kids have to deal with. There is wonderful, wonderful shade. Cost was 25,000.00

6. Teacher workrooms. The teachers have organized, functional rooms where they can maximize their productivity. The cost for this was 15,000.00

7. Outdoor learning- for the past 3 years we have worked with Urban Harvest and now Ready to Grow, to provide the kids an authentic and meaningful outdoor learning experience. This doesn’t come cheap at 19,500.00 a year.

8. iPads- it’s the way kids learn now. We have spent close to 21,000.00 on IPads.

9. A $35,000.00 STEM grant to the school, which has paid for a 3 year lease for Dreambox, (a math program for the lower grades) and a reworking of the computer labs to make it more functional for how we use computers now, not when the lab was built. Also included in that was LEGO robotics for all grades. I went into the lab today. It no longer resembles a static call center. There are tables and a tablet center. The kids were on the floor, following instructions on the computer to assemble their robot, meanwhile I am still trying to figure out how to bold something in the Word edition that comes on Windows 95. Actually that’s just a joke. I prefer WordPerfect.

Not to mention, money spent on band instruments, repair of said instruments, outside benches, furniture for the gold pod, and a water fountain for the west playground.

The Long Range Planning Committee is meeting now. They are going over ideas for next year. And of course, there is always the looming HISD budget crisis. Will we lose another 300,000.00? Sadly, it seems likely.

So the real question I want to ask you, you the parents who researched and stressed over where to send your child to school, bought a house in the neighborhood, or took your chances on the lottery, a school that is phenomenal, in no small part because of the PTA auction that keeps it that way- the question I want to ask you is…

Have you bought your tickets yet?

https://shop.oakforestpta.com/collections/auction-2019

I almost fell to my death taking this pic

Gorgeous playscape

Shade structure

Following the computers instructions

Collaboration and teamwork. These three were totally in sync.

And sorting—but there were still tons on the floor. Thankfully I had my shoes on…