What is the “foundation,” anyway?
Glad you asked! A school “foundation” is a non-profit corporation, tax exempt under IRC 501(c)(3), that is charted to basically allow taxpayers (that’s you) give to the local school and take it off their taxes as a charitable contribution. In other words, donations to the Foundation – unlike the other (many, many) checks that you write to your child’s school, can be “written off” when you file your taxes. That’s true for individuals and for businesses, so if you are a business owner (or have a matching program for charities at your work) let us know!
The really clever thing about the Foundation model is that it allows parents and community members channel money straight into areas that they care about and put budget dollars straight into the local school. Thanks to having a Foundation, Mountain View is able to do “big picture” things.
What does the Foundation do?
Well, let’s start with what the Foundation does not do. The Foundation does not typically supply items on a single classroom basis. That is more a function of the PTA – and our PTA does an AMAZING job of helping teachers get what they need for their classrooms, whether in the form of supplies, time, or other resources.
Foundations, by contrast, focus more on systemic needs. Specifically, our Mountain View Foundation decided to make the STEM program – that’s the Science Technology Engineering and Math Program – its focus. In past years, the Foundation has paid teacher salaries in order to keep full time teachers in the technology and science labs, or funded partial salary for a para-pro to assist in the technology lab.
In 2019-20, our wonderful administration was able to cover those salaries through allotments, and so the Foundation is working hard to do much needed replacement for computer equipment in the school (learn more HERE). Going forward, we may again need to cover salaries to keep full time staff available for the labs. But no matter what, our mission remains the same: to serve the school by providing STEM support on a school- wide or grade level-wide (not classroom) basis.
By adding in support for STEM, everyone benefits – it’s a great example of “a rising tide raises all ships”! Teachers have the benefit of access to subject matter experts, and more time to plan. The community benefits, as the STEM program impacts our school ranking (and property values!). And of course, the students benefit most of all!
Why doesn’t the County pay for our teachers?
The short answer is, it does – but giving to the Foundation enables it to provide our students with more teachers and para-pros than our enrollment entitles us to receive!
The longer answer is that Cobb County, like the rest of the state of Georgia, decides how many teacher salaries that a school will get based on the school’s Full Time Enrollment (FTE) and other factors (like the types of services our students qualify for, for example). In 2019-20, our administration was able to use funded allotments to cover salaries for the technology and science labs, which lets the Foundation focus on much needed computer replacement.
In other years, as enrollment changes and other factors (such as approved services) vary, that may not be possible. Those are the years when Foundation assistance is even more critical. Another good thing to know: Cobb County also pays for the benefits for teachers that are added by the Foundation money! Thus, by using the power of charitable contributions, the Foundation is able to leverage available funds and get exponentially more resources for our school!
Why is membership so high, and what do I get for joining? (In other words, how come I don’t get a t-shirt?)
First of all, you can donate to the Foundation at any time, in any amount – we cash checks of all sizes! We have set some suggested donation levels simply for convenience. Remember – a dollar donated to the Foundation is tax deductible, and a dollar donated to the Foundation is leveraged with other available County money to add actual staff and supplies that the whole school benefits from! With that in mind, the Foundation has chosen not to spend much money on swag. We’d rather put as many dollars directly into teacher’s pockets as possible!
What happens if I don’t join?
Well, honestly, nothing. But if enough people don’t join, we won’t be able to pay for the STEM needs of our school. And that hurts everyone. A rising tide raises all ships, but the reverse is also true. Without adequate Foundation dollars, we can’t support the STEM program. Our school scores go down. And so on. To accomplish the great things we are chartered to do, the Foundation needs everyone to give something!
What’s the difference between the Foundation and the PTA? Do I really need to join both??
The PTA is a wonderful organization that supplies things directly to classroom teachers and students – you should TOTALLY join it! Now!
The Foundation is something entirely different. The Foundation focuses on supplying systemic, school-wide, “big ticket” items that can be handled with donated funds that are tax deductible! And yes, you should totally join the Foundation, too!
I’m sold! What do I do now?
Click HERE to join/donate to the Foundation and become a "Friend of the Den"
Click HERE to join/donate the PTA, then click the "Join the PTA" button.
Thank you for supporting Mountain View Elementary School!