Report on Our Survey of School Budget, Fees and Fundraising Decisions
On June 5, Willow Park School was able to open a survey about school budget, fees and fundraising using a new engagement tool called Civil Space. The Willow Park site is located at: http://willowpark.cbedialogue.com/. This space allows us to survey and engage parents in important conversations about teaching and learning.
There were 93 completed surveys that helped us to better understand our family’s perspective on these three topic areas. Parents and guardians were able to provide specific feedback to the school budgetary process and school-specific fees. At the request of the School Council, we provided five choices of potential fundraising opportunities for parents and guardians to select as events that they would be most comfortable supporting.
Respondents indicated in the survey, the grade that their child attends at Willow Park. There was a generally even representation of responses from a parent or guardian of students from all grades, with slightly more responses at the Grade 7 and 8 level. Here is the distribution:
The survey provided an overview of the Willow Park School budget for the next school year:
- During the 2019-20 school year, money was granted to each Middle School to purchase a half-time (0.5 FTE) teacher to support student mental health.
- We used this money to hire a 0.5 Resource Teacher for this work.
- This allocation specifically allowed us to support complex learners targeted in our School Development Plan Well Being goal.
- Our school budget was devised to support learning across all grades through the purchase of materials for learning for all students. This includes expendables and capital items.
- Decisions made at Willow Park School have been informed through information sessions and consensus building activities during budget development and implementation.
Parents and Guardians were invited to answer: Given the information provided about our budget based on provincial and system guidelines, please provide feedback on ideas that you would like us to consider for future planning.
The responses provided suggestions in regard to school budget, with the following general themes:
• At the district level, the need for CBE to improve operations and maintenance budget and very concerned about the increase in bussing costs for alternative programs
• At the school level the need to maintain teaching, educational assistant positions, and maintain the support for mental health was a primary theme
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At Willow Park School we have mandatory and optional school specific fees :
Mandatory - field trips that support the learning in curricular areas. These vary according to the grade and subject on a yearly basis and are charged to families throughout the year. Also included a course specific fees for Music instrument rental for Grade 6-9 Band and a clinic fee.
For mandatory fees, CBE Administrative Regulation 3027, states that “no eligible student may be denied participation on the basis of the inability to pay.” Financial assistance is available for families who are unable to pay these costs.
Arts-Centred Learning fee $75.00
Optional - All other fees charged to families are either optional (Yearbook, gym strip, etc.) or are extracurricular in nature (athletic fees, clubs, etc.) and therefore are based on family choice. We do not anticipate significant changes in fees in the next school year from last year.
Our Parent Society fundraises monies during the year in a variety of ways to help offset some of these fees.
Parents and Guardians were invited to answer: When considering our mandatory and optional fees, please provide any feedback to consider for future planning.
· For those that did respond to the fees component, many appreciated the value of and importance of fees for fieldtrips
· Satisfied with the 75$ fee associated with arts centred learning and the ways in which artists support learning
· Questions about the art centred learning fee given the three different scenarios for the fall of re-entry.
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• Our School Council fundraises in support of student learning at Willow Park School. This is done in two ways:
• Casino - the Willow Park School Council supports a casino event every 18 months to two years. Funds raised from this event can support many items over the time period between casino fundraising events. All purchases from these accounts must fall within the AGLC guidelines for usage.
• Fundraising Campaigns - throughout the year, the Council may choose to offer fundraising campaigns. This may include ongoing activities such as fun lunches or “one off” purchases such as selling cookie dough and Caring Cards. The proceeds from these accounts may be used for field trips, artists and more broadly to support student learning at Willow Park School.
• Listed below are some of the purchases supported by School Council fundraising activities during the 2019-2020 school year:
• 4 Cameras for Yearbook - $2445
• 3D Printer - $2840
• 30 Hokki Stools - $4000
• Replacement Orff Instrument pieces - $100
• Silk Screen equipment - $735
• Woodburning Kits - $560
• Orff Instruments - $1990
• Chrome book chargers - $155
• Microbits- Robotics - $1155
• Bluetooth speakers for Dance - $510
• Society General Account
• Grade 9 Enviro Club supplies for Window Veggie Garden - $80
• Empathy Data Day - $1310
• PiDay – Presenter - $250
• Haunted House - $415
• Opening Week Activities & BBQ - $2320
• Studio Artist support - $5000
In response to the statement: Historically, fundraisers at Willow Park School have been primarily product selling campaigns. School Council is looking to simplify fundraising by initiating a cheque writing campaign. This campaign would supplement the Casino fundraiser and funds raised through Fun Lunches/ Healthy Hunger. Please share your thoughts around a cheque writing fundraiser for families in lieu of a product selling fundraiser, parents and guardians responded as follows:
· Mixed feedback in support of a cheque writing campaign in lieu of a product-selling fundraiser
· Strong support for fun lunches
· Feedback spoke to wanting different products in fundraising campaigns
· Feedback in regards to fundraising will be shared with School Council to inform decisions for the 20-21 school year
If you are interested in further details regarding survey results, please contact the school.