Friday, January 15, 2010

If I Had That Kind of Money, I'd Be Driving a Nicer Car

Can I just complain a little bit here.

It's nothing huge, nothing life changing, but something that kinda ticked me off today.

Jacob goes to private school. You know that. There are things I love and adore about it (the teachers) and things I completely detest (snooty parents). Of course, it goes without saying that I hate handing over a huge chunk of change every semester, but as far as private schools go, it's one of the most affordable around here. And just in case you were wondering, I didn't shop around for a cheap private school because I dislike public education. I shopped around for a half day kindergarten and this was the only one I found. We I had every intention of sending him to his regular neighborhood school in first grade but this place worked for him and we just thought we'd do this for as long as we can.

And yes, Adam will be going to the half-day kindergarten there next year (I threw up a little in my mouth typing that) because I still haven't found another one.


I've gotten to know some of the more laid back and less mean parents. Some of them I interact with on a regular basis. You might even call them my friends, but I don't want to jinx it or anything. So in chatting with these parents I have learned that one of Jacob's friends did not return this year because they could no longer afford it. She has since been pulled out of her neighborhood school because she was too far ahead and is now being homeschooled. They have gone in monthly asking for assistance in scholarships (which the school does offer) and have been turned down every time. This month, another parent lost his job and has no savings to fall back on so they approached the administration to ask for a one month extension fulling expecting to be employed by February. They were denied. If they do not pay this month's tuition by the end of the month, they will have to withdraw their son. In the middle of the school year. So much for that helping Christian hand.

Now. I fully understand that while trying to teach these children the ways of the L*rd is the mission of this school, I do get they are also running a business without any of the government perks given to the local school systems. I know they cannot give everyone a hand-out. I know they can't help everyone who asks. I get that. Sure, it'd be nice if they could wait a few weeks for a payment but I get they have to pay for electricity and water and teacher salaries.

This morning I went the mailbox and found yet another letter from the school. Now. They mail something out to every single family enrolled there at least once a week. Sometimes it's an ad to attend their church. Sometimes it's the monthly school newsletter. Most of the time it's a request for even more money and I don't mean tuition. All of them come with a 44 cent stamp attached.

So, I figure the enrollment is somewhere around 600 these days. Sure, there have to be some siblings, so let's say 500 families get the monthly mail. Take 500 and multiply by each of those stamps and you get about $2200 spent on EACH mailing. Let's say they send three this month and that's $6600. Uh-huh. Maybe if they just pushed those things into each kid's backpack on the way home they could save enough money to help some people in need. But what do I know?

So I opened the letter and it was an ad inviting us to the annual donate more money auction that we have actually enjoyed attending in the past. One year, I got a free weekend of petsitting for five bucks and had a good time on top of that. Last year, they combined it with the Gala (think fancy sit-down spaghetti dinner) they have in the fall because it was cancelled due to Hurricane Ike. We missed the auction last year because we couldn't do the Gala what with all these kids and everything.

I was kind of excited because, well, I don't have a life and I could really use some more pet-sitting, when I found they are yet again combining the Gala and the auction. We couldn't go to the Gala last year because we couldn't bring our kids. We can't go to the Gala this year because two tickets cost $250. That's TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS to walk around a smelly gym and then pay MORE money on a bunch of crap like pet-sitting and eat sticky pasta and limp salad. What?

I guess it goes without saying that the people of the auction committee are all the rich snooty parents right?

I can sit at the Grand Champion table for eight at the rodeo-themed Gala/auction for only $10,000. Yes. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. Seriously???

And there's a huge sign out front of the school that says they'd like 100% participation this year.


You know, I'd love to donate some money to that school. I'd love to see all of Jacob's previous and current teachers be paid more. They deserve it. The school needs more room and computers and stuff that will give them a better education. I'd love to help out with that. But $10,000? Don't have that. $250? Don't have that either. I do have $100 I got at Christmas that I would love to spend at the silent auction on maybe a BBQ dinner at my favorite place, tickets to the symphony, or, yes, the dang pet-sitting, but I won't be able to get in. I've been denied because I don't have enough money to get in the door.

I hope they call me again this year to see if we'll be there. I'll tell them if they want to encourage the families who go to school there to become part of their school family, then they need to include each and every one of them in a way everyone can be involved because I know we won't be the only family not attending. In fact, I can be pretty certain that no one I personally know will be able to get in either.

I'm thinking I'll have my own Gala and have all the poor people come here, swim in the pool across the street and collect ten bucks from everyone to give to the family who needs the extension.

But if they don't have ten bucks. That's okay. We're still family.


Crazed Mom said...

Having spouse unemployed and me not getting a job right away as I hoped I understand poverty more than I ever have.

When Bren was sick and after he died, the preschool board was so kind as to pick up our tuition the entire year for my now 18yo. Our private Christian preschool picked the entire year of tuition for our now 18yo. Geo was unemployed back then and they were so kind.

I am your school is non profit. Christian charity just doesn't exist in certain group.


ChupieandJ'smama said...

Our schools are quite similar (you know I've complained before), but I do think that ours helps out more with families in need of tuition. I can't believe that yours isn't willing to work with people. That is just so wrong.
Our auction is November. We went the last 2 yrs (I think our tickets are $80.00 each) but this year due to the economy we decided to bail out. We've spent a substantial amount of money on auction items in years past (and we are on the bottom level of income at the school, so believe me it isn't easy to find the extra to shell out) and we did it for the school and the kids. Sometimes I wish they'd just increase the tuition for everyone enough that they don't have to have their hand out all time.
It makes it difficult for those who don't have the extra to give.

Miss Hope said...

So are you saying only the cool poor parents get to go to your Gala? Because retired military are cool people, too! Just saying.

p.s. I think it's sad that even a Christian school gets to the point they can't help a student in need. Especially with how things are going now.

AmyRobynne said...

That's obnoxious -- you're so right in seeing that sending stuff in kids' backpacks could support a few kids by itself.

My husband teaches at the Catholic school where my son is a kindergartner and for this year and next year, they instituted a bridge program to provide financial assistance to families who used to be able to pay. They usually only provide financial aid to faculty (yay!) and upper school students, but this program is for 1st-12th grade for any existing families. They figure that if they lose a family due to one year of tough times, that could be a decade of lost full tuition once the economy improves. They used money that originally was going to increase the lower school building. They don't need space to grow at the moment anyway with new families holding off. It seemed to me to be a wise approach for thinking to the future.