Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does SPARK raise funds?
A: SPARK commits roughly $1M — approximately 6% of the overall District’s budget — per year for our schools through parent and business donations, eScrip subscriptions, and special events. Each of these is critical to providing the funding needed to keep Music, Art, Science, and Technology programs — as well as Outdoor Science Education — offered through our schools. The dedication and hard work of our SPARK parent volunteers is what makes SPARK fundraising activities and community-building events possible.
Q: What programs does SPARK support?
A: SPARK supports teacher salaries and materials for Music, Art, Science, Technology programs at all three schools, as well as Outdoor Science Education at for our 5th graders. Without SPARK, the simple truth is that these programs would be cut or severely scaled back. These programs help give our children confidence, foster creativity, and provide a breadth of experiences that tap each child’s unique talents while developing the self-expression and self-esteem needed to succeed in today’s world.
A: SPARK fully supports the District’s belief that integrating arts into the curriculum elicits deeper learning and encourages experimentation, reflection, greater observation skills, creative problem solving, and motivation. Along with a grant received from the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) in 2009 and art kits provided by school PTAs, SPARK funds contribute to the overall framework of the District’s art integration framework. The 2013-14 school year was the final year for the receipt of this money from the MCF grant. The 5-year program has positioned our schools and faculty well for continuing exemplary arts integration through professional development training, training and stipends for professional peer coaches, and the creation of designated art spaces at the campuses. SPARK and other District revenue sources will need to cover any additional needs in this area moving forward, which makes your support even more critical to the success of integrate arts learning for our children.
Q: Who makes up SPARK?
A: SPARK is a volunteer-staffed foundation that raises over $1M per year from the parents and community of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District. We elect new members every Spring. To apply, contact presidents@SPARKschools.org.
Q: What is the difference between SPARK and the PTO/PTA?
A: SPARK funds educational programs that have been cut or are under-funded by the state budget for the entire District. The Neil Cummins PTO, The Cove School PTO, and the Hall PTA fund site-specific materials that enhance and enrich the community experience, through the hot lunch program, Carnival, Chalk Festival, Walk-a-Thon, and more. Visit the District website for more information on the Neil Cummins and The Cove PTOs and Hall PTA.
Q: What is eScrip?
A: In 2013-14, eScrip supporters earned nearly $20,000 for SPARK! eScrip is a fast, easy and free way to earn money for our schools. To participate, register your credit, debit or store club cards online at eScrip. Once you’ve signed up, a percentage of every purchase you make using your registered credit or club cards (i.e., Safeway) at participating merchants is donated to the SPARK. For more information, click here.
Q: Does SPARK have a Facebook page?
A: Yes! “Like” us today to get pictures, updates and information on events! Click here to find our page.
Q: Where do the funds raised by SPARK go and how much of the funds raised come from each source?
A: Please visit our financials page for information about revenues and expenditures.
Q: How was SPARK involved with the bond measure, facility upgrades, and the building of new Cove School?
A: As the Board of Trustees, Superintendent, Administrators and Design Committee members evaluated the various construction and curriculum options for the District, SPARK remained committed to and focused on its sole mission of building community while fundraising to support programs — Music, Art, Science, and Technology (MAST) — that are at risk due to ongoing state budget cuts. SPARK as an organization is not and never has been involved in the curriculum or hiring decision-making.
Q: Why do our schools need money? Isn’t public school free?
A: California’s educational funding has been drastically cut, and as a result many of our quality programs that used to be part of the standard public school curriculum are at risk of being discontinued or severely scaled back. Property taxes and parcel taxes alone do not cover the major funding gap that exists between state funds and what is needed for a quality education for our children. In fact, property taxes cover only a small percentage of what is needed.
Q: How much should I donate to the Annual Giving Campaign?
A: The current gap that exists is more than $1 million, or approximately $892 per child in the District. We ask that you consider joining the more than 800 families who support the Annual Giving program every year by making a donation of any amount that is meaningful to you. You can also set up a monthly installment to spread your payments out over time. Donations can be made by check, credit card, with stock, and/or through corporate matching. Click here to donate today.
Q: How can I help if I can’t give a big amount?
A: There are many ways you can help support our schools! First, any and every donation makes a difference, no matter the amount. There are also other ways to donate, including through corporate donation matching, stock donations, and monthly credit card installments which you can spread out over 10 months. In addition, you can donate your time to any of the SPARK-related events or campaigns.
Q: How does SPARK acknowledge donors?
A: The full list of donors and businesses who have generously supported SPARK is included in the Fall Annual Giving brochure and website. The list on the website is updated on a regular basis. Click here to view the most current list. We make every effort to list names correctly. Please email us with any corrections.
Q: Why do I keep getting emails and request for me to donate when we’ve already given ?
A: With more than 1,200 busy families in the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District, we need to reach out several times throughout the year, and this means we are often communicating to families who have already donated. We realize this may sometimes be frustrating, but please know that our goal is simply to ensure that we get enough family involvement and support to fund the programs that are so valuable to your children’s education.
Q. Which businesses in our community donate to SPARK?
A. Following is a list of organizations that donate to SPARK. For a full list please click here.
Q: I am a local business owner, how can I get involved in the SPARK Business Program?
A: Participating businesses can receive numerous benefits depending on their level of commitment. Please click here for more information.