Wednesday, March 12, 2008

PTA and debt

Yes...I think we are the first PTA that has gone into debt. Not just a little bit either. Try $4500. Just a couple of pennies right? Let me explain. My son's school library has looked like this for 10 years.

Some shelves have broken already, and others are close to being there. They were built by a previous principal and though we are all grateful to him for doing so, they are pretty poor quality. They have held the books for 10 years though! We're so glad he went above and beyond.


Last year, the PTA talked to the current pricipal about the sad state of the shelves. Sadly, the district will not pay for new shelving. There's just not enough money in the budget.


Side note here: this is truly pathetic to me. The library is one of the most important parts of the school! If there's not enough money for everything...figure it out!


Anyway...the PTA Presidency from last year decided to take on the huge job of getting the library new shelving. They got in touch with the community college here and the instructor for the cabinetry classes said he would have his students build new laminate shelves for the school and all we would have to pay for was the materials. He said it would be roughly $10,000. They agreed and raised $5,000 for the project. The money was set aside and saved for this year.


In comes the new PTA Presidency. I am the treasurer. We start the year out realizing that the instructor was not going to be able to come through for us. Nice, huh? We've got $5,000 sitting in the bank for this. The question was, do we follow through with the plan or use the money for something else? You saw the shelves...what would you have done? Both me and the secretary have 2nd graders as our oldest and 2 year olds as our youngest. We're going to have kids at this school until the year 2018. We figured now was just as good a time as any. We were going to have to do it eventually anyway and it was better to do it before ALL of the shelves had broken.


We hurried and got a bid to see what kind of costs we were looking at. It was for $30,000. We gasped. Knowing we could never come up with that kind of money as a PTA, but knowing we still needed to get new shelving for the library we presented our thoughts and feelings at the very FIRST PTA meeting. The first one. It wasn't pretty. The moms thought we were insane. Some wanted us to just rebuild cheap shelves like the principal had built before. Others wanted to know what was wrong with the current shelves {are you kidding me?} We were glad when the meeting was over....lets just say that. To answer the question over why we didn't just rebuild the same kind of shelving already in there....Did we really want to do this all over again in another ten years? My kid would still be in school there. I sure as heck didn't want to do it again.


We decided as a PTA Presidency {along with the principal, vice principal and librarian} that we would go ahead with the project whether the rest of the moms agreed or not. It was what was best for the school and for our children that attended the school. {that means their kids too!} We knew $30,000 was not an option for us. So, I got paperwork and applied for three different grants from three different companies. Meanwhile, we got a few more bids and changed the specs a little bit and had the initial company rebuild it. We found we could tweak the plans in certain areas to lower costs, but still ensure the stability of the shelves.


Four months later we found out we wouldn't be getting money from ANY of the grants I applied for. So, we got together with Principal Hoy, VP Deboard, and Mrs. Rehn the Librarian {I know, it rhymes!} and had each company that put in a bid give us a presentation. We had them bring samples and asked oodles of questions. In the end, we picked the initial company that gave us the outrageous bid. Except, they were so nice to us and brought the costs down to around $20,000. They knew we were just a fundraising organization and it was for a good cause, so they made practically nothing off of it. We love them. :0)


We made $13,000 selling Butter Braids this last year in fundraising. So, I wrote a fat check for $15,000 to Premier Woodworking and they said they would let us pay the remainder at the end of the school year after we've held a school carnival to raise the funds to pay for the rest of it. We are in debt to them. Literally.


They came and installed the shelving this last weekend. All that's left to install is the pieces that will lay on the tops of the shelves.









We had a ribbon cutting ceremony last night.
This is the principal and the librarian cutting the ribbon. We had such a good turn out. The moms that made the fuss didn't come. Part of me is glad, but part of me really wanted to say "neener neener" {to myself of course!}. Anyway...It was so great. The kids LOVE their new library. We created a little reading center and put a new rug there. It's the kids' favorite spot in the whole library. Mrs. Rehn {who was almost in tears} said that the kindergarteners were laying down on the rug, some were playing hopscotch....we are thrilled! It was what we wanted for the library. We want for our kids to WANT to enjoy going to the library. To snuggle up on the rug with a good book and read. And now they can!
Now we just have to finish paying for it. Keep your fingers crossed for us. We need to raise some serious dough to finish paying for these shelves. So, if you live around here...please come! I think it's on May 16th. We are going to have those fun inflatable toys like the slide and bungee run, and we're going to try to get a big inflatable obstacle course too. Even if you don't go to the same school...come give us your money! Buy a hot dog and cotton candy for your kid and let them get a balloon. It's going to a great cause. :0)

12 comments:

Shannon said...

You go miss treasurer! WOW, what a difference! I think that is so cool that some PTA's have people like you to take on such big projects and follow through with it untill the end. Good Job! Love the new shelves.

Sister Sassy said...

Wow Ash! That is AWESOME!! They look great too.

I DETEST grant writing! It makes me cry.

Bridget said...

Wow, you go girl! That is awesome. It is so sad that in this country schools never ever have enough money to function.

Momma Mary said...

They look BEAUTIFUL! Great Job!!! It's too bad your Grant's didn't come through for you. I would come... But I'm pretty sure it isn't a short trip! ;)

Ashlee said...

Let me emphasize here that I wasn't the only one involved with this process. There are four of us that took this on. Not just me. Jodi, the secretary, is a miracle worker...

Sister Honey Bunch said...

If I were that librarian I wouldn't have been able to not cry.

Bonnie B. said...

The shelves look great!! You guys definately made the right choice. It shows the kids that you think the library is important enough to take care of, so reading must be pretty important too. Great job!

~Virginia~ said...

Ashlee! Those look awesome!! Congrats to all those involved for doing such a wonderful job! :)

Amber M. said...

My goodness, the library looks GREAT! Way to go!

Melanie said...

I'm impressed. It was so much more than I had envisioned from our previous chats about the shelves. VERY NICE!

Cameron said...

Congrats Ash. The shelves look great.

Cameron said...

Debt is bad. But libraries are good.