common questions

Please contact Megan Pavelka, Foundation Board President, if you have a question that is not answered on this page.

What is the Ross School Foundation?

The Ross School Foundation is a parent-run, volunteer, non-profit group that serves as the primary fundraising organization for Ross School. It raises funds that fill the gap between what it costs to run the school each year and what the school receives from state, local and federal sources. The Ross School Foundation has been in existence since 1992.

How much is the Ross School Foundation trying to raise this year and what is the money used for?

For the 2018-19 campaign, we must raise $1,200,000.  All proceeds raised by the Foundation are used directly, on an unrestricted basis, for Ross School’s annual operating budget.

Why don’t our taxes cover our children’s education?

In 2011-12, California ranked 47th overall in how much it spends per student – $8,667 when adjusted for regional cost differences, about $3,000 below the national average of $11,665.  California remains near the bottom nationwide in per student spending. (Source: Quality Counts 2012).

Moreover, the Federal government provides almost no funding to Ross School. Our school relies primarily on property taxes, a parcel tax and private donations. The Foundation typically provides approximately 20% of the school’s budget.

How much does it cost to educate my child at the Ross School for one year?

The Ross School budget as of June 17, 2015 was $6,441,595 or approximately $17,175 per child for the 2014-15 school year. The School is expected to receive approximately $13,675 per child from the state, federal and local funding in 2015-16. This leaves a shortfall of approximately $3,500 per child.  This is the amount that we need to raise for each student at Ross School.

Private elementary schools in Marin cost between $15,000 and $30,000 per child, per year, which is not tax deductible. On top of the tuition, private schools require additional donations for their fundraising efforts during the year to meet their budget needs.

Unlike private school tuition, the donation to the Ross School Foundation is completely tax deductible.

What is the average class size at the Ross School?

The average class size is 20 children per class. Ross School has the lowest student to teacher ratio (12:1) for all Marin public schools (includes teacher aides, specialists and program teachers). Without Foundation support, class size would be much higher.

Who are the members of the Foundation?

25 parents and community members serve on the Foundation in staggered three-year terms. Participation is voluntary and unpaid.

Who sets the annual fund raising goal each year?

The Foundation’s annual fundraising goal is set by the Financial Advisory Committee (a School Board appointed committee) and the Board of the Ross School Foundation. The FAC is made up of one Board of Trustee member, the Foundation presidents (past and present), the Foundation VP, the Principal/Superintendent, the Business Manager, several parents, teachers, and representatives from the community at large. The FAC reviews the budget planning of the school administration in detail. In conjunction with the administration, the FAC makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees, which then approves the final budget.

What about the parcel tax?  How much does it contribute to the budget?

In 2016-17 we expect to receive almost $735,350 from the parcel tax.  The parcel tax is a significant source of revenues for the Ross School, but it does not cover the full cost of a child’s education.

Why have a parcel tax and a Foundation?

The parcel tax is applied to nearly every real estate parcel in Ross (with the exception of seniors, who may apply for an exemption). Therefore, each property owner helps support the Ross School.  This is a fair and equitable arrangement since the School consistently positively impacts property values.  The Ross School Foundation is supported primarily by the School parent body, which is only about 25% of the town’s property owners.

Why have an Endowment and a Foundation?

The Ross School Endowment will provide support on an annual basis to the school’s budget.  At this time, however, the endowment’s projected donation will not fund the gap that exists to pay for the resources provided to each student at Ross School.  The Foundation’s annual campaign exists each year as a way to help bridge that gap and is supported primarily by the school’s parents, whose children are a direct beneficiary of the programs that the school provides.

What is the level of support in the Annual Giving Campaign?

Last year, we had parent participation in excess of 95%. Our goal is 100% parent participation because we feel it is critical to have every parent (regardless of the amount given) take partial ownership in what is happening in our community, our school and to each and every one of our children. Additionally, we receive support from community members, grandparents and a few local businesses such as Woodlands Market, the Half Day Café and Woodlands Gas and Mart.

Can I designate my United Way contribution to Ross School?

Yes, you can designate Ross School Foundation on your United Way form.  The Ross School Foundation is a 501C tax exempt entity; its Tax ID # is 94-2838271 and its address is:  P.O. Box 582, Ross, CA  94957.

Can I save money by gifting appreciated stock?

Yes! If you own a publicly traded stock, it can be donated to the Foundation at its current appreciated value. You qualify for a tax deduction equal to the current appreciated value and avoid paying a tax on your gain. Stock forms are included in the letters, or call Janet Pero (415-737-5040) for more details. (Note: general tax benefit of donating appreciated stock applies only to stock with long term capital appreciation).

How can I find out about corporate matching gifts?

Many employers will match educational gifts made by their employees. This can be a significant benefit to our children. Matching gifts can also bump parents’ giving into a higher donation recognition level. Ask your HR department or call Janet Pero (415-737-5040) for details.

Can I designate my AmazonSmile contribution to Ross School?

Yes, you can designate Ross School Foundation on your AmazonSmile page. The Ross School Foundation is a 501C tax exempt entity; its Tax ID # is 94-2838271 and its address is:  P.O. Box 582, Ross, CA  94957.