HELPING: ‘Fundshifting’ focus is just the beginning for West Seattle Public School Equity Fund

You can’t change the past. But you can certainly try to right its wrongs, to work for a better future.

That’s the idea behind the West Seattle Public School Equity Fund, founded by (L-R above) Andrea Dimond, Kristen Corning Bedford, and Shannon Woodard. We talked with them last night at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, during a celebration of the WSPSEF’s first year.

For starters, it’s about “fundshifting” – equitably distributing community contributions so that the richer schools don’t keep getting richer while the not-so-well-off schools keep scraping.

Where the past comes in is what the founders discovered when they examined the area’s “redlining” map from the 1930s (see it here) – what are now Title I schools, with the highest percentage of students from low-income families, are in the “redlined” areas. So the historical inequities continue self-perpetuating. The WSPSEF founders hope to disrupt that, in the interest of weaving together all of West Seattle’s neighborhoods and school communities, to support the entire peninsula as one community.

During this school year – with classes ending today – they’ve already raised $20,000, and will be “fundshifting” that to five elementary schools – Concord International, Highland Park, Roxhill, Sanislo, and West Seattle.

For year two and beyond, they hope to get more participation, and also to broaden the scope beyond money. The initial collaborations, they say, have already started to break down the silos of individual schools’ support communities, to discover synergies and shared challenges. In all, they want to “advocate for all students” in West Seattle.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED: If you’re a member of a West Seattle elementary or K-8 school community that’s not already involved with the WSPSEF, email, or talk with your school PTA/PTSA. If you would simply like to donate, you can send a check to the West Seattle Public School Equity Fund via its fiscal sponsor, DNDA (4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle 98106).

12 Replies to "HELPING: 'Fundshifting' focus is just the beginning for West Seattle Public School Equity Fund"

  • sps parent June 17, 2022 (1:29 pm)

    I am trying to understand the logic here. Aren’t those Title 1 schools already receiving more funding than what non-Title 1 schools get? Isn’t that the whole point of Title 1? SPS lists all of those schools as currently receiving additional Title 1 funding:

    • Admiral Mom June 17, 2022 (2:51 pm)

      Here we go. Title 1 schools receive the “extra” funding to alleviate the effect te of poverty. Kinda leveling the ground. Any money raised by PTA is extra and in the case of most title 1 schools, it helps with school supplies, field trip scholarships, etc. Many Title 1 schools do not have a PTA or their PTA struggles with finding members and officers to fundraiser for basic needs. Thank you Andrea for not only recognizing this but also for organizing more affluent PTAs to support these high needs schools!

      • picklesaregood June 19, 2022 (12:48 pm)

        I’m not sure the intended tone of your message is, but I read it as dismissive and that makes me sad. This is a valid question. It would be great if WSPSEF  (or you if you have a good grasp of it) provided more transparency and showed their analysis in depth. This group is coming at this issue from an extreme progressive viewpoint, which is not representative of the breadth of viewpoint, experience, or cultures within our community. The best solutions come when we talk openly, listen to each other, and are inclusive. While this is a great start and I’m sure the intentions are good, there may be other solutions that have greater impact. We won’t know if ideas and questions are dismissed.

    • Also a SPS Parent June 17, 2022 (5:02 pm)

      As a parent who only started attending PTA meetings and paying attention at the end of this year, the amount of money that my kids’ elementary school PTA has is absolutely astounding. Way too much, and what seems like years of reserves based on what I saw. Sickening when other schools has nothing.

  • JenFin June 17, 2022 (2:43 pm)

    Bravo ladies! Amazing how much momentum you have built in such a short time. Excited to see what the next few years bring. 

  • wsteacher June 17, 2022 (4:54 pm)

    Yes! This will help make it more equitable for those kids!! Thank you!! West Seattle is the Best of Seattle! The ultimate dream would be to break away from SPS and have our own West Seattle School District.

  • Jennifer Barringer June 17, 2022 (5:01 pm)

    Such fantastic work! This is so overdue and I am hopeful families will understand the value of leveling the playing field for all students. 

  • Horrah! June 17, 2022 (6:50 pm)

    These are some truly inspirational members of our community.  As a parent in one of the WS schools that has huge PTA fundraising and know the great benefits our students reap because of it, I’m beyond grateful that we are shifting to take care of not just our school community, but the greater WS community. The kids of our community are all of our kids.

  • Fairmount Park Parent June 17, 2022 (9:09 pm)

    I have mixed feelings about this. I live in the poor side of a wealthy school zone. Every single time I attend a school event, other parents are surprised to hear that Delridge is a part of the Fairmount park school area. So we have a attendance area that is mostly populated by wealthy home owners west of 35th with historically redlined neighbors east of 35th. Due to attendance numbers, our pta-funded school counselor is reducing hours. And our principal is reducing hours as well. Do you think wealthy parents rely on the school counselor as their only source of mental health help for their kids? This is having blinders on to the poor people in your own school because you have money to get your kid transportation, lunch, school supplies and counseling so I guess everyone else in the school should as well. But hey, I’m not wealthy enough to contribute to the PTA fundraiser so I guess that means my child doesn’t get to benefit from its largess. If this is the situation, why not have a district-wide PTA that distributes funds equitably?

    • Admiral Mom June 17, 2022 (9:45 pm)

      BINGO. But a district wide pTA money pool is a pie in the sky nobody has been able to make possible, I mean NOBODY. So the inequities continue and it is by advocacy like this organization, change can happen. I don’t believe any PTA will deny support for any student in their school whether the family contributes to fundraising or not. I am sorry if you have experienced that because that is extremely problematic.

  • Gina June 17, 2022 (10:14 pm)

    Check out the Lafayette attendance area– each school has a varied economic spectrum of attendees and a West Seattle PTA pool could be an example to the rest of Seattle. Let’s show those folks North of the Ship Canal what we can do!

  • RLS June 17, 2022 (11:27 pm)

    THANK YOU for doing this. So overdue as the inequities are stark and disgusting.

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