Giving Compass' Take:

• New York City Councilman Mark Treyger requested that the school PTAs share their funds across districts to fill the significant parent fundraising gaps between schools. 

• What is the role of education donors in helping subsidizes state funding for schools? 

• Read more about PTA fundraising inequalities. 

Amid massive parent fundraising disparities, Councilman Mark Treyger is asking the city to allow school PTAs to pool their money.

Treyger’s requests could hit a nerve with parents who are not keen on sharing funds they’ve raised with schools that bring in significantly less money, or those who believe the main problem is inadequate state education funding. Parent fundraising can be used to boost school programs and pay for supplemental staff that the principal did not budget for.

Still, a recent release of unaudited and self-reported PTA fundraising data has fueled calls to relieve the disparities. For example, the Upper East Side’s P.S. 158 raised about $1.5 million, or $1,840 per student, last school year, while P.S. 194 in Manhattanville raised $391, or about $2 per student. Sharing PTA dollars means wealthier parent groups could help cover enrichment and support staff at schools with fewer resources.

In a letter sent Wednesday to schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, Treyger, who chairs the City Council’s Education Committee, asked the city to allow for collaboration between parent organizations. He also wants the education department to provide parent organizations with baseline funding for PTAs and PAs, something he’s advocated for in the past.

“If DOE added a base-level of funding to PTAs and PAs and allowed schools that desired to share resources to do so, this could help move our schools in the right direction towards equity,” Treyger wrote.

The department’s release of fundraising numbers last month offered a window into how parent organizations raise vastly different amounts.

“We have schools in New York City that have a whole other funding system in play,” Carranza told his parent advisory board last week. “The privileged get even more privileged and the poor get even more poor […] That’s something I think we could make a lot of headway on.”

Read the full article about sharing education funds by Reema Amin at Chalkbeat.