FAQ

YRCSEF Annual Fund Drive Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is the Yuba River Charter School Educational Foundation (YRCSEF)?

2) What is the Annual Fund Drive?

3) Do Charter Schools receive less money than traditional public schools?

4) Why do Waldorf Charter Schools have additional financial burdens beyond most other Charter Schools?

5) Why am I being asked to give money? Isn’t this a public school?

6) Do other schools ask the parent and school communities for financial contributions?

7) I hear there is an on-going shortfall in the money YRCS receives from the State of California. How much is that shortfall this year?

8) How did the YRCSEF come up with the suggested monthly donation figure of $1,200 per student?

9) Where do my Annual Fund Drive donations go?

10) Are my donations tax-deductible?

11) What is the most beneficial way for me to pledge? And what is the most ideal pledge amount for the school?

12) If I make a pledge, do I have to pay immediately?

13) Are Annual Fund Drive donations voluntary?

14) Can you show me how money earned through the Annual Fund Drive has been spent in past years?

15) Will Annual Fund Drive fundraising have impact on my child’s class?

16) Can I help fund a specific grade, program or specialty class?

17) Is the money raised during the Annual Fund Drive used for the teachers and staff?

18) I volunteer so many hours to the school, why should I give money?

19) What if I can’t give the suggested amount?

20) What if my monthly income is unpredictable or drops and I cannot pay the amount that I signed up for?

21) If everyone donated $1200/student, what would our school look like?

22) If everyone donated $20 what would our school look like?

23) What if I don’t give anything?

24) What is ADA?
FAQ Answers

1) What is the Yuba River Charter School Educational Foundation (YRCSEF)?

The YRCSEF is the charitable, non-profit foundation with a mission to raise money in support of the Yuba River Charter School.

2) What is the Annual Fund Drive?

The Annual Fund Drive is the centerpiece of the YRCSEF annual fundraising efforts. The Annual Fund Drive supports many of our Waldorf specialties and curriculum programs that are not funded by the State of California education funding model. The money raised during the Annual Fund Drive is a crucial portion of our annual operating budget. This yearly fund-raising effort raises money that is essential for ensuring the quality of the educational experience for our students.
Every year we ask and invite all the families with children enrolled at YRCS to invest in their children’s education by making a monthly pledge as a tax-deductible annual gift for YRCS. Families are asked to please consider contributing, and budgeting for, $100 each month for each student enrolled at Yuba River Charter School.
While many families donate the suggested monthly pledge amount, others choose to donate more, some less. Many families also prefer to donate a one lump sum during the year. Others families make multiple gifts; for example, they may make one gift in the fall and then make another gift in the spring after receiving their tax refund.
We invite you to choose a plan that works for your family. Please review our annual pledge form, fill it out completely and return it to YRCS. As the YRCSEF is a charitable organization, donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

3) Do Charter Schools receive less money than traditional public schools?

Yes. “The 1992 legislation that authorized charter schools in California created a funding model intended to provide charter schools with the same per-pupil operational funding as received by other schools in the same school district. The state subsequently modified this policy in 1998, enacting legislation specifying that “charter school operational funding shall be equal to the total funding that would be available to a similar school district serving a similar pupil population.” This policy remains in place.”①This policy presents 7% inequity in funding for charter schools in the State of California. We must do more with less. The California Charter School Association, the lobbying agency for all California charter schools is fighting this policy on our behalf.

4) Why do Waldorf charter schools have additional financial burdens beyond most other charter schools?

Waldorf charters teach much more than the state standards. There is no state standard for Spanish, strings, handwork, painting, javelin, archery, guitar, chorus, swing dance, drama, etc. Providing faculty, materials and supplies for our curriculum and these programs costs our school money, and these programs are unfunded as determined by state standards. Additionally, our teachers hold a CA credential plus Waldorf training and frequently change grades requiring continual professional development. An increase in program requires more facility space for programs such as farming, woodworking and games. All of these rich Waldorf components increase our annual operating budget.

5) Why am I being asked to give money? Isn’t this a public school?

California ranks among the last in the nation in per-pupil spending and the funds that the state provides must often be supplemented by the generous support of parents, grandparents and community members. Virtually every public school in California — not just charter schools — must fundraise from families in order to continue quality programs like music, art and foreign languages. There is a shortfall between the funds that the state provides for a basic public education and the enriched education inspired by Waldorf that our children receive at Yuba River Charter School.

6) Do other schools ask the parent and school communities for financial contributions?

Yes, virtual all public and private schools do ask for financial support whether they are elementary, middle, high school or college institutions. Locally, the following foundations support and raise dollars for their associated schools: the School of the Arts Foundation, the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation, Nevada Union Joint High School Foundation, Nevada City Schools Foundation, Sierra College Foundation and UC Davis Foundation. These organizations produce auctions, giving campaigns and other all-school fundraising, boosters and scrips programs, just as YRCS and the YRCS Educational Foundation.

7) I hear there is an on-going shortfall in the money YRCS receives from the State of California. How much is that shortfall this year?

YRCS is projected to receive ADA funding amounting of $5,192.36 per pupil for the 2012-2013 school year, while our instruction cost per pupil, at our current programming level, is $5,606.88. This puts YRCS at a funding deficit of $414.52 per student for a total of $125,185.

8) How did the YRCSEF come up with the suggested monthly donation figure of $1,200 per student?

The suggested annual donation of $1,200 per student was derived in order to meet the State of California ADA funding shortfall, while also considering the reality that not all families can make a financial commitment of $100 per month; therefore we ask more for those who can do more. Beyond the ADA funding shortfall, YRCS is currently operating at a “bare bones” curriculum and programming level. To fund our school beyond its current programming level, YRCS does need to raise more money than the ADA shortfall, alone. If we are to grow the quality of our school programs, we must raise these additional dollars.
We are certain most YRCS families will prioritize this Waldorf education opportunity for themselves and will consider budgeting $100 per month for their child(ren) to receive this rich and nurturing experience.

9) Where do my Annual Fund Drive donations go?

Your donations to the Annual Fund Drive directly support Yuba River Charter School. Funds are allocated by the YRCS Board of Directors and YRCS Finance Committee which manage and approve the school’s annual operating budget. Program and curriculum are the top priorities of our Board of Directors and Faculty.

10) Are my donations tax-deductible?

Yes. The YRCS Educational Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You generous donation is tax-deductible.

11) What is the most beneficial way for me to pledge? And what is the most ideal pledge amount for the school?

The most beneficial way for you to pledge is online at: http://yubariverschool.org/support-us/donate-online/. Donations made online through PayPal incur a lesser processing fee (under 2.5%), which come out of your donation amount. (Payments made to YRCSEF using a credit card may incur up to a 5.0% fee, which is money you donate that YRCS does not get to invest into the school.)
The most ideal pledge amount for YRCS is the suggested giving amount of $1,200. While some people are able to give at this level or higher, realistically some people are not. If you are able to make the sacrifice, investment and commitment to YRCS by pledging $1,200 per month, all of our community would benefit greatly.

12) If I make a pledge, do I have to pay immediately?

No. If you make a pledge to the YRCSEF today, you commit to making your gift contribution in the future. The YRCSEF is hopeful that all YRCS families will make a monthly gift contribution of an amount that is meaningful and sustainable for them. Pledges can be made online at: http://yubariverschool.org/support-us/donate-online/.

13) Are Annual Fund Drive donations voluntary?

All donations to the Yuba River Charter School Educational Foundation are voluntary. Your decision to participate and the amount has no impact on whether a child is accepted for enrollment or continues to be enrolled in YRCS. However, we want every family to understand that while government funding provides a basic free education to all children, the enriching curriculum inspired by Waldorf education offered at YRCS relies on parent participation, including financial and volunteer time contributions. We ask that all families participate in making a meaningful donation to YRCS. If this curriculum is a priority for your family, we ask that you consider a gift contribution that is satisfactory to your appreciation of our school.
Our goal for the Annual Fund Drive is 100% participation among YRCS families to support our children’s’ education. We encourage every family to give as generously as possible. Every gift—whatever the size— is gratefully received and strengthens our community.

14) Can you show me how money earned through the Annual Fund Drive has been spent in past years?

Each year the YRCS Educational Foundation publishes an Annual Report. This publication provides donors and our community with the school’s overall financial picture, including the funds raised and operations budget expenditures.

15) Will Annual Fund Drive fundraising have impact on my child’s class?

Yes, money raised during the Annual Fund Drive directly, and indirectly, affects each class and each student at YRCS. Whether the school can afford to retain the high-caliber of teachers we currently have, hire co-teachers to support the classrooms and maintain the level of specialties offered each year is determined by the success of our Annual Fund Drive giving campaigns.

16) Can I fund a specific grade, program or specialty class?

Money raised during the Annual Fund Drive cannot be accepted as a restricted or directed gift. The YRCS Board of Directors and YRCS Finance Committee manages the YRCS school annual operating budget and sets the priorities of program and curriculum goals each year.

17) Is the money raised during the Annual Fund Drive used for teachers and staff?

Money raised during the Annual Fund Drive does affect the quality and caliber of our faculty and staff. We hold our school to high standards. If we are not able to fund our rich Waldorf curriculum including faculty & staff salaries and benefits, the school could be at a risk of losing valuable faculty and staff members.

18) I volunteer so many hours to the school, why should I give money on top of that?

Volunteerism is the cornerstone of charter school education. When families chose to enroll their child or children in a charter school there is an expectation of volunteering. Volunteering directly supports class teachers and classrooms, governing bodies and festivals and other school events. While your volunteering is crucial to the success of our school and your child’s education and directly aides our teachers and curriculum, YRCS must also stay financially viable. Therefore, fundraising and financial support do go hand-in-hand with volunteerism and both are equally important.

19) What if I can’t give the suggested amount?

It is understandable that some families are able to make an annual contribution to the YRCSEF that exceeds our suggested gift amount of $100 per month. It is also understandable that some families are not able to make this level of financial commitment. We ask families to consider the value that this opportunity for a public, Waldorf education for their children. And we ask that families consider our school’s offerings as a priority for their family in giving a gift that is meaningful.

20) What if my monthly income is unpredictable or drops and I cannot pay the amount that I signed up for?

We ask each YRCS family to make an annual pledge that is meaningful and fiscally comfortable. If at any time you would like to increase or decrease your pledge contribution, please contact the YRCS Development Associate to adjust your pledge.

21) If everyone donated $1200/student, what would our school look like?

If each of our community of families was able to commit to contributing a monthly budget of $100/per student our school would be in the position to provide our faculty and staff with much-deserved and equitable raises. YRCS could also re-instate all specialties programs that have been cut over past years such as Eurthymy, woodworking, practical arts such as ceramics, advance level Spanish and strings, orchestra, choir, German, as well as provide a great portion of funding to all students for class field trips, afterschool and other programs. YRCS would also be able to expand upon our current curriculum with the addition of a full-time Games instructor.

22) If everyone donated $20 what would our school look like?

If families chose to donate $20 annually to our school Yuba River Charter School would look very different. The sum total of a $20 per student donation would be $6,000. All of our specialties programs (handwork, Spanish, games, drama, swing dancing, etc.) would be cut from our curriculum. Our caliber of faculty and staff would be diminished, as YRCS would have to cut salaries and benefits to our already over-qualified and under-paid faculty. (YRCS teachers are the lowest-paid teachers in this county when considering the amount of schooling, training and levels of education and degrees they hold.)
We are confident that our community and families have chosen to be at YRCS because it is the best educational opportunity for their children to receive a rich, broad, nurturing education that meets them on the many levels of human development. We are teaching your children through their “heads, hearts and hands,” which is enormously unique to public education anywhere in this county. We are the first, public charter to offer this education; and we believe our faculty and staff are exceptional at providing your children with the best they can receive.

23) What if I don’t give anything?

If all of our families chose not to give a financial donation to our school, Yuba River Charter School would look very different. All of our specialties programs (handwork, Spanish, games, drama, swing dancing, etc.) would be cut from our curriculum. Our caliber of faculty and staff would be diminished, as YRCS would have to cut salaries and benefits to our already over-qualified and under-paid faculty. (YRCS teachers are the lowest-paid teachers in this county when considering the amount of schooling, training and levels of education and degrees they hold.)

We are confident that our community and families have chosen to be at YRCS because it is the best educational opportunity for their children to receive a rich, broad, nurturing education that meets them on the many levels of human development. We are teaching your children through their “heads, hearts and hands,” which is enormously unique to public education anywhere in this county. We are the first, public charter to offer this education; and we believe our faculty and staff are exceptional at providing your children with the best they can receive.

24) What is ADA?

ADA stands for “Average Daily Attendance.” The state of California funds school districts based on each student’s daily recorded attendance. ADA is calculated by dividing the total number of days of student attendance by the number of days of school taught during the same period. Yuba River Charter School budgets for program and curriculum based upon projected enrollment and ADA. Additionally, when students do not attend class or school, YRCS loses that daily funding, which equals about $33.50 per day.

(1) “Comparing Funding for Charter Schools and Their School District Peers” January 26, 2012; p. 3. Legislative Analyst’s Office.

(2) TOP-Ed “Thoughts on Public Education” editorial blog. http://toped.svefoundation.org/2012/01/13/ca-student-spending-near-bottom/

(3) “Comparing Funding for Charter Schools and Their School District Peers” January 26, 2012; p. 10. Legislative Analyst’s Office.