As many other communities have already realized, a school foundation to support the public schools is a valuable tool for fundraising for larger and/or extraordinary initiatives important to the entire community. Rye currently has five wonderfully successful parent teacher organizations and the Fund seeks to complement their success. While the Fund and Rye’s five parent teacher organizations are all organizations that exist to provide support critical to Rye schools’ success, the Fund is an organization established solely to raise money and make grants for the betterment of our school district as a whole. It is envisioned as an entity that will serve Rye public education for many years to come.
The Fund seeks to develop a general fund to provide flexibility in making grants in support of whole school excellence. The Fund intends to build a broader sense of community responsibility beyond individual school needs and to further unify all five schools within the district by working closely with their administrative as well as their volunteer leadership. The Fund intends to coordinate with members of each of the five Rye parent organizations and other community members will necessarily play an important and informative role in the Fund as advisors regarding Rye’s school district needs.
Many other communities in Westchester County have foundations to help provide fiscal support to their academic goals. The following is a partial list of Westchester communities that have foundations supporting their schools:
- Ardsley (since 1995)
- Bedford (since 2012)
- Blind Brook (since 1990)
- Briar Cliff Manor (since 1995)
- Bronxville (since 1991)
- Byram Hills (since 1994)
- Chappaqua (since 1993)
- Dobbs Ferry (since 1994)
- Edgemont (since 1993)
- Harrison (since 1994)
- Irvington (since 1996)
- Katonah-Lewisboro (since 2010)
- Mamaroneck (since 1996)
- Pelham (since 1995)
- Scarsdale (since 2012)
- Tarrytown (since 1993)
As a community, we expect our schools to be among the very best–and they are! The Rye public schools are dedicated to educational excellence and have very high educational standards. However, many financial constraints face Rye and other school districts throughout New York State. These fiscal challenges make it difficult to raise all the tax revenue we need to support the educational excellence we expect. Some of those challenges include:
- the New York State school budget tax cap (without corresponding mandate relief);
- the New York State multi-year tax freeze budget property tax rebate;
- increasing costs outside of district administration’s control such as pension requirements and state-mandated, but unfunded programs;
- the Gap elimination adjustment which resulted in significant reduction of New York State aid to Rye schools; and
- tax certiorari awards resulting in reduction in tax dollars received by the district.
Rye’s school district needs both tax dollars for ordinary year-to-year budget items (facilities, salaries, benefits, etc.) and support for non-recurring expenses that help to provide an outstanding educational experience for our children. In order to deliver the excellence our children deserve, the Fund seeks to support extraordinary resources for our teachers and our students.
The Fund’s mission does not include raising money for ongoing core programs and operating expenses, rather it seeks to help alleviate the fiscal burden on our school district by providing resources to fund important items that would not be available under the district’s operating budget. The Fund raises private funds to ensure our school district continues its history of excellence in academics, arts and athletics – allowing the district to remain competitive with its peers.
The Fund provides extraordinary and critical support to supplement our tax dollars to achieve academic excellence and push the envelope of educational innovation.
Rye school district management has been fiscally prudent as borne out by the district’s continued triple AAA rating from Moody’s. Rye’s cost per pupil has historically been lower than all of our peer districts.
Regardless of whether or not you are a resident who sends children to the Rye public schools, the Fund will almost certainly help you. Studies have shown the quality of a community’s schools is the single most important factor for maintaining strong home values. (See e.g., Nonlinear Effects of School Quality on House Prices, Abbigail J. Chiodo, Ruben Hernandez-Murillo and Michael T. Owyang, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, May/June 2010, 92(3) pp. 185-204). The benefits of strong public schools provide an advantage to all homeowners regardless of whether a family has one or more children in the school system. In this rapidly changing, competitive and technology-driven world, it is critical that we have the necessary resources available in our schools in order to maintain the high caliber of programs, the excellent reputation of our schools and our strong property values.
Rye Fund for Education employs a rigorous procedure for evaluating projects in coordination with the school district. This coordination is ensured by the active participation of the Superintendent as a non-voting member of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. In addition, Board of Education vice-president, Jennifer Boyle serves as school board liaison. Both the Superintendent and BOE liaison are in attendance at all RFE board meetings.
While the school board must approve gifts to the district, grant decisions will be made by the Fund’s Board of Trustees through a majority vote.
Gifts of any size are welcome and make a difference! Every gift is meaningful to the Fund regardless of size. The Fund seeks to have widespread community participation for our schools through whatever contribution each family can afford or is willing to give.
The Fund is interested in galvanizing the support of the entire Rye community and it welcomes the financial donations and volunteer spirit of all community members within the Rye City School District as well as donations from any other sources, including bequests, employer matching, charitable trusts and gifts from corporations and individuals. Please always feel free to contact any Fund Officer or member of the Board of Trustees with your ideas and/or to lend your support. To make a tax-deductible donation, simply click the button below and follow the prompts or send a check or money order payable to “Rye Fund for Education, Inc.” and addressed to:
Rye Fund for Education, Inc.
Attention: Megan Schatz
555 Theodore Fremd Avenue
Rye, New York 10580