What is The SPARK Reserves?
Over the past six years SPARK has grown to become a leader among the in-town Atlanta elementary schools. In addition to the standard-issue materials provided by APS, SPARK parents have made significant financial contributions to enhance the curriculum and extracurricular experiences for the students. Now, we are at a new stage of maturity for the school and, as parents, need to begin planning and saving for future investments.
To further explain the rationale for The SPARK Reserves, investments in the school can be viewed in two categories: (1) recurring curricular, extra-curricular and teacher resources which are used/consumed annually and (2) significant periodic capital investments in technology, playgrounds and other items, which financially impact the parents on a larger, yet more infrequent basis. Fortunately, technology in the form of Promethean boards and computers are included with each new building, paid for by the voter-supported SPLOST funding. Therefore, today we have a stable technology infrastructure, yet it is depreciating rapidly. This funding will not be available in the future from APS and parents must start planning now for these very significant costs.
To determine best steps moving forward, The SPARK PTO has been closely collaborating with the SPARK LSC and Administration and has hosted several discussions during large General meetings. Collectively, we decided to maintain all funding mechanisms within the PTO structure versus forming a separate 501(c)(3) foundation. Many other schools in our community have set up separate foundations and we have carefully considered the pros and cons which have been shared.
With this, our fundraising strategies and accounting management will be broken into two streams:
The PTO annual budget is voted on by the PTO membership at the beginning of each school year and the PTO currently reports prior year investments through the annual report, which is published during the late summer. This process will include the SPARK Reserves as well to ensure that the financial commitments are fully transparent and that donors understand the importance of their contribution.
For SPARK to continue forward as a top elementary educational institution with strong facilities, it is critical that we begin planning now. The SPARK Reserves will help ensure that we have the establishment for the future. Please join us in this effort!