Donation – is now a school requirement?

I thought I knew what the word “donation” meant. But the way the school seems to use the word, made me uncertain, and I had to look it up:


1. an act or instance of presenting something as a gift, grant, or contribution.
2. a gift, as to a fund; contribution.
The first day of school, the kids each bring home this HUGE package of papers.  Primarily these papers consist of various requests for donations.  All around the $5.00 range.  ($5 bucks is the new, we’re going to $1.00 you to death… except now they will ask for $5.00 all the time.)  So, since I’m out of work, and my husband’s sales have been down, and we already knew we could no longer afford our condo in Southern CA… we’re in the process of trying to move out-of-state.  It might be a long process of like a year.  It all depends on how quickly our condo sells.
We decided we weren’t going to pay for anything extra.  No sports, no $5.00 here and there… no donations.  We can’t afford it.  Normally, we are very generous.  Whenever the room parent would ask for $$, I always gave more to off-set any parent with a student in our class that refused, or couldn’t donate.  (as long as I was working)  I have been a room parent a few times and so I know the difficulties of trying to balance so that all students enjoy their party, etc.  Especially a room with 35 kids.
 With that said, it’s embarrassing to fill out  all the kids paperwork that has the tons of notices and requests for money to indicate we don’t have it.  We don’t want people to think we are “cheap,” and don’t want to pay, so we feel compelled to indicate we are on a tight financial budget.  I turned in the required docs for both kids, and attached a note indicating why no check was there.  So they don’t assume we just missed the document or forgot to attach payment.
 crayonsIt pisses me off to NO END, when bullshit stuff like this happens.  In the past, I’ve been out of work before and faced this same dilemma.  The school makes you feel badly.  If you complain about the costs associated with everything (like the school supply listed), they say it’s a “suggested” donation on the school website.  YET, the kids go to class, and if you failed to bring something, the room parent will send you a reminder.  OR if you dared to get the Rose Art crayons that are cheaper than Crayola, they will return the box.  Yes, those crayons are inferior to Crayola, but they are fine.  And the glue sticks that are purple and not white are fine! (no, the purple doesn’t adhere as
Will only accept 2 dozen Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils, pre-sharpened.

well)  As long as it’s a No. 2 pencil, does it matter if it is Dixon Ticonderoga?  (yes, one sharpens better than the other) – our school is spoiled and only wants brand new, top of the line items that cost more and they want us to supply the classroom and school.  I refused to purchase new items.  I had the kids recycle their crayons and colored pencils from prior years and told them we weren’t supplying the classroom.

 So, this year: I sent a note attached to each kid’s paperwork that we will not be forwarding $$.  In my son’s binder last night, was this damn yellow piece of paper (again) asking to donate for the planner.  I had already forwarded that same piece of paper (with all the other docs) stating we would not be paying.  My son said it was sitting on his desk when he came in, and all the kids told him he “had” to pay for it because he was using the planner.  He got embarrassed and yelled at me.  I was livid.  How fucking dare you guys put that pressure on my kid to produce $$.  It’s actually cleverly done, so the teacher can claim she had no idea that form was placed on his desk and maybe the room parent did it, or that she thought a check just wasn’t attached by mistake (as she didn’t get the note?).  I’m wise to all the tricks now.  They hope you will be pressured into producing the $$.  And, they use peer-pressure.  “mom, all the kids paid.  We have to, too.”
Also, the parents face ridicule from the other parents.  It’s just $5.00.  You can’t pay $5.00? (and then $5.00, and then $10.00, and so on almost every week they ask for money for something else ) What’s the big deal?  You’re helping the school.  Hey, the school has more of a budget than I do.  These Orange County teachers make more money than I do even when I’m working!  My husband has checked the public records, our school/district has tons of money.  They are hording it as we have several teachers coming up on retirement and they need to pay those pensions.
So, now when the school asks for a “donation,” they are actually making it a requirement.  You have to really push-back.  I hate our financial situation as it is, and embarrassed to have to say NO in the first place, and pissed that We (and our kids) are placed in a situation that pressures us.  I wish I were the person who didn’t care about these things.  But, I actually feel badly. However, I refuse to be bullied.  I sent a follow-up e-mail, nicely worded, to his teacher.  (see below), BTW:  the total amount they asked for the first day of school totaled to $70.00 for just PTA (this includes both kids).  Our jog-a-thon is in Oct. that funds the PTA. (every year that raises thousands, thousands of dollars) The room mom is going to be asking for funds soon.  It never stops. Teacher appreciation day (basket), Teacher birthday (basket), School carnival (basket and bid on baskets) etc.  Family fun night, etc.



40 thoughts on “Donation – is now a school requirement?

  1. Amen sister! Preach! I struggle to pay my daughter’s tuition (private school…..long story trying to keep things as normal as possible for her post divorce) and it’s frigging impossible to attend an event at school with out writing a check for something!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahahah. I tried to remove the e-mail notices for that reason. (but haven’t been successful.) I want to follow on my feed, but not e-mail. That’s why- those that I have made connections with- I have a page to store those links. Basically, I go down my link list to check out their blogs and sometimes comment on a couple of posts (if I’m behind at all.) – it seems to work best for me that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I fucking hate that nonsense. Sebastian attended a state charter for one year in NM. The had the gall to DEMAND we give a $1000 “donation” to enroll him for the following year. I stormed the office and called bullshit on the whole operation. I also reported them to the State Board of Education, informing then that this state run charter school was trying to con parents into essentially paying tuition to go to a free school… needless to say, it didn’t go over well. The school got investigated and shut down for other shady practices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s too bad. 😦 Good for you standing up to the bully.

      You know, I’m obviously for donating. I’m usually very generous. However, I don’t like when they make you feel like you HAVE TO… especially, when you have given sooo much over the years, and the time you don’t have the funds, they basically guilt you into it, by going through your kids. Then, when you call them on it, they find a way around it… oh, it’s just a suggested donation, oh, I didn’t get the note, Oh, I don’t know how that notice got to you again… maybe some of it’s true. However, I’ve played this game long enough.

      They want us to buy Xerox paper for the school copy machines, boxes of pens for the teachers, Clorox wipes and Kleenex for the classroom. They can buy this stuff in bulk, get a discount, and teacher’s have tax write offs- it’s a stupid, expensive way of doing this. They want top-notch brand stuff and stock the classroom, school, and office so you’re paying for the other families that don’t bring anything. So, the time I’m strapped for cash, I’m asked again for $$ when I didn’t pay.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s truly absurd that they demand brand name crap only. It’s almost as if they’re getting kickbacks! I’ve always wondered about that racket… Target brand stuff is way less expensive and I always get coupons. I’ve usually just disregarded the demand for brand name and done whatever the hell I please. I donate my time, since I have more of that than money! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

    3. me too, lady. I bought the Rose Art Crayons one time, and they returned them because they weren’t Crayola. And they returned the glue sticks that were purple in color. They have to be white.

      Well, interestingly enough, last year we had a notice with our 1st day packet of paperwork that indicated they will be donating old supplies (crayons, scissors) to a “less-fortunate” organization (the school gets recognized for that) and then expect the parents of our school to purchase new product all over again. I refused to sign that doc, requested to have my kids have their crayons and colored pencils (etc.) returned to me and I had them recycle them this year. (and I did not forward any extra supplies for the classroom) my kids have their own package of Kleenex, etc. I’m not paying for janitorial items. I’m sick of buying the same thing every year. (Scissors, pencils, glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils, thin markers, thick markers, etc.) I ended up spending almost $200.00 in supplies (total for both kids)

      As for extras, the new boxes of crayons/markers- they stock the school with all the new boxes of everything. Whatever is not used during the year, the school stores for the following year. (and so on)

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Good grief! Stick to your guns, as I know you always do! 😘
      Those butt heads need to LEARN their priority is in educating children, NOT in picking and choosing which school supplies they prefer.
      Love you babe! Xoxoxoxoxo


  3. Jeez … I used purple glue sticks when I was a kid, and I turned out just fine. I even glued my friend’s workbook to his desk on the first day of school. (It was a very short friendship.)

    I agree that the nickel-and-diming is getting out of hand … especially when it’s no longer nickels and dimes, but ones and fives. It adds up. When people and institutions start “strongly suggesting” donations, then they need to relearn the definition of “donation.”


    1. You DID NOT glue your friend’s workbook on purpose, did you ? What a character you are…remind me of someone I knew in high school. He did whatever he could to annoy me in English class. Drive me crazy. He ended up tripping me in class and I fell on my hands and knees in front of everyone! I hated him after that.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No, the workbook incident was a complete accident. That’s what I told the teacher, anyway. “No ma’am, I didn’t mean to smear the entire back of his book with glue, then press it against the desk for 5 minutes while I waited for it to dry.” That’s my story, and to this day I’m still sticking to it.

      If a boy teases you, that usually means he likes you … but tripping a girl and making her fall flat on her face seems like an especially poor way to break the ice. I should know — I just did that at the supermarket the other day. She was carrying a couple of bottles of wine to her cart, so I thought I’d duck behind a life-sized Tony the Tiger cutout on the cereal aisle and stick my foot out.

      Of course, I helped her back to her feet, but instead of giving me her number, she just got all huffy and called store security.

      Sigh. It’s just so hard to meet people these days.


  4. No apology needed — I’m just glad to be on a “favorites” list! Besides, I probably look like a Brian.

    In any event, it’s a male name with five letters — and if I was a government statistician, that would be close enough for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know what you mean! My son moved to another school this year and they aren’t as bad as the last one…not yet anyway. The last school always wanted for us to do fundraisers all year long. It was so annoying! My mom wanted to buy a lot of his school supplies so that helped a lot. I bought a few things. He also has to wear a uniform. What? They ask for money for teacher gifts? That shouldn’t be an obligation! I usually send them a little gift at the end of the year and at Christmas because I want to. The good thing about this school is that they get free breakfast and lunch.


    1. Wow, they raised the lunch prices to $2.75. And they don’t get much. They are always so cranky because they are starving by the time I pick them up. It’s a nice alternative, to sandwiches, but man they just don’t get enough.


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