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DC Council bill looks to create equity among school PTOs

Councilmember David Grosso's legislation would create an 'equity fund' to be shared by parent teacher organisations at DC Public Schools.

WASHINGTON — A new D.C. Council proposal looks to create equity among parent teacher organisations in the District.

Councilmember David Grosso introduced a bill that would create an equity fund to benefit PTOs in DCPS schools.

The bill language dictates that after a PTO expends more than $10,000 in a school year, it will be charged an "equity fee" of 10 cents for every additional dollar it spends. The monies collected from those fees will then go toward the equity fund which would then be equally distributed to other PTOs in the District.

PTOs often raise funds on the behalf of schools to finance field trips and extracurricular activities.

RELATED: Parents forming PTSO at Anacostia High to address violence and lack of funding

"We must continue to increase investments in our schools so that outside fundraising by PTOs is not necessary to provide the supports our students need," Grosso said in a statement. "While I will continue to push to provide schools the resources they need to help our students succeed, we must address and level inequitable academic experiences and outcomes for DCPS students that PTOs can exacerbate."

According to Grosso's office, last year 75% of D.C. elementary schools did not report having any PTO revenue. On top of that, the schools that brought in the least amount of PTO revenue had student bodies that were overwhelmingly economically disadvantaged.

Amira Moore has a first grader at Ketcham Elementary School in Anacostia. She also serves as the President of Friends of Ketcham. Moore said she knows having a good PTO can go a long way toward having a good school.

"There are some schools that are so sought after, because those schools are invested in by their PTOs," Moore said.

Moore said she she appreciates the intent of Grosso's bill.

"Kids in Ward 8 need help," she said. "They need more resources."

The bill also looks to create more transparency among PTOs in the District. The legislation would require PTOs to submit annual budgets to DCPS.

RELATED: DC charter schools put up fight against legislation that would make them more accountable to the public

RELATED: 'We want to get home safely' | Anacostia High students demand action on gun violence from city leaders

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