Pro/Con: Private Funding May Become Pooled

Pro, Kaylee Davis

Parents who help fund programs are some of the most important assets to the RHS. The school gets support from many families who work to help fund the after-prom party and publications.

Because Montgomery County is one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. according to The Washington Post, one would think that all of the booster clubs, PTSAs and other parent funding groups in the county would have a bountiful supply of money to spread throughout schools. However, that is not the case.

While Wootton HS received $200,000 in private funds for a new turf field, RHS received only $22,000 from the Booster Club and $16,900 from the PTSA to divide between clubs and other programs, according to Booster Club President Chris Emond and PTSA President Dylan Presman.

“There is no way we could ever reach [$200,000]; we don’t have enough money to reach that goal,” Emond said.

MCPS is reviewing donation policies to see if having equal funding amongst private donors would be beneficial. It would allow RHS to give out more money to clubs and other programs. It would also allow for newer and better equipment to be bought and used on school grounds.

Schools in less-wealthy neighborhoods would benefit greatly from having equal funding because it would allow them to have the same quality of educational and sports equipment as wealthier schools. About 30 percent of RHS students are in the Free and Reduced Price Meals Program, compared to wealthier schools like Damascus, Churchill and Wootton that only have 5 percent.

If all MCPS schools were able to get the same amount of funding, there would be no competition between schools about who has the better fields or equipment. The countless hours of work and fundraising would pay off by building a greater sense of community within the school district.

“With everyone and their parents all working together for one common group whether it be football, lacrosse [or other groups], we’re there making people happy at events,” junior Chris Reed said. Reed has been a snack bar volunteer since his freshman year.

Since MCPS divides county money equally to schools, it would only be fair if the distribution of private funding was equal too.

Con, Matt Olson

New jerseys, a turf and a video scoreboard: these are things that all MCPS athletes would love to have. The fact that many affluent schools always seem to be able to afford these luxuries has gotten the attention of multiple MCPS officials who are now debating whether or not to limit private booster club, PTSA and other funds.

If MCPS were to do so, their plan would be to pool private club funds into one pot that would be equally distributed among the 196 schools in the county. This would allow every school to receive the same amount of private funding no matter the wealth of the school’s community.

Although this seems fair, consider the fact that if one school is willing to raise a large amount of money, it would be given out to schools that did not put in the same amount of work.

While RHS is not in one of the wealthiest school communities in the county, a lot of work is done by both students and parents to help benefit the Booster Club, the After Prom Party Committee and Friends of Rockville. Every year hundreds of students and parents work long shifts at the RHS mulch sale in order to raise money for their school.

According to RHS Booster Club President Chris Emond, students raise about $13,000 each year at the mulch sale. Fundraising itself brings together a high school community. It is rewarding for students, parents, teachers and coaches when they come together to do something that will enhance their school. It is not as fulfilling to work to raise money that will be going to 196 schools in the county.

“While it can be hard work, it is rewarding knowing that the fundraising I do is benefitting my own school and not someone else’s. For all I know the students at that school may not be doing any work at all,” junior Spencer Brigman said.

If money is equally divided, it can be possible that the funds shared by the 196 MCPS schools are only coming from a few harder working schools. Ultimately, fundraising should come down to who works the most to gain it. Any school can make money if they have dedication from the community.

“I’d rather have less money and know that I made it, then have more money and know it came from somewhere else,” football coach Jason Lomax said.