NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Shifts In Public School Funding Spur Fund-Raisers

December 17, 1998

Emulating colleges, some public schools are holding elaborate fund-raising events to create endowments. Observers report that the trend stems from the recent policy of states to shift money from wealthier school districts to poorer ones.

The often-lavish events are light-years beyond your average bake sale.

  • Brookline High School in Massachusetts recently launched a campaign to raise a $10 million endowment with a dinner featuring crisped duck on Asian pear -- and gathered $160,000 in two hours.
  • New York City's Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School each held similar events recently to kick off separate $10 million endowment drives.
  • About 12 percent of the more than 14,000 school districts nationwide have some kind of private fund-raising organization.
  • The organizations spread the gifts around to all schools in a district.

The biggest public high school endowment may belong to Boston Latin School, which has chalked up $13 million. Invested at, say, 6 percent, the school would have an additional $780,000 for special purposes each year.

Source: Alec Klein, "Public Schools Begin Raising Endowments," Wall Street Journal, December 17, 1998.


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