New York City is home to some of the richest PTAs in the country, while other schools struggle to even recruit parent volunteers.
To better understand the disparities, City Councilman Mark Treyger on Monday will introduce legislation requiring the education department to track the membership and fundraising of schools’ parent organizations. The law would require an annual report to be posted to the education department’s website.
“We need to make sure all of our kids are receiving the same level of opportunity across the board,” Treyger said.
In the city and across the country, powerhouse parent organizations raise vast sums of money to boost the budgets of schools that tend to serve wealthier students — widening the gulf between them and schools with needier students.
For example, the PTA at P.S. 87 on the Upper West Side was named the second wealthiest parent organization in the country in a report this year by the Center for American Progress. At a school where just 9 percent of students qualified as poor in 2013-14, the parent organization raised almost $1.6 million that year, according to the report.
In the very same district, P.S. 191’s PTA had about $11,000 in the bank as of January 2016, according to meeting minutes posted on online. About 78 percent of its students are poor.
Some districts have tried to reduce such disparities by requiring PTAs to share their wealth or restricting how the organizations can spend their money. But such limitations are not without controversy. In California, for example, parents have pushed for their own school district rather than pool their fundraising dollars.
The bill will be introduced at Monday’s City Council stated meeting.