The SPARK Reserves is the PTO funding source that provides and maintains capital investments for SPARK, including:
- Technology infrastructure (computers and interactive whiteboards)
- Facility infrastructure (playground ground surface and equipment)
- An emergency fund (ex: an economic recession causes a shortfall in fundraising income for the PTO’s annual operating budget, which pays for basic curriculum)
All contributions to The SPARK Reserves programs will be allocated according to the following guidelines: 65% Technology, 10% Playground, and 25% Unrestricted.
“The SPARK Reserves” 101
For many years, SPARK parents questioned why we did not have a school foundation, similar to other sister schools in the community. In May 2014, the PTO Board decided to maintain all funding mechanisms for The SPARK Reserves within the PTO structure – versus forming a separate 501(c)(3) foundation. The SPARK Reserves officially kicked off in June 2015, at a fundraising event at the home of SPARK parents, Jon and Heather Hallett.
Since SPARK’s inception in 2009, PTO Boards have been good stewards. When the PTO has had net income from their annual operating budget, they have put it aside for the future (into the Equity). The PTO Board may lead other events/programs, as needed, to fund The SPARK Reserves (e.g. The June 2015 kick-off party).
Current Balance, Past Spending
The SPARK Reserves balance is identified in the Equity section of the PTO Balance Sheet (contact PTO Treasurer). Since 2015-2016, the SPARK Reserves balance and spending are reported in the PTO’s Annual Report.
Oversight, Budget Process
The SPARK PTO Board (which includes the Principal) oversees The SPARK Reserves, with close support from the GO Team. Until August 2015, the PTO Board budgeted for both annually-consumed-expenses (e.g. software licenses, teacher training) and capital investments (e.g. computers, playground) as one process. The 2015-2016 school year was first where PTO Board voted on capital expenditures to be “paid for” from the Reserves. The PTO Board emails voting ballots to Members for the annual operating budget. At this time, (as of June 2016), the PTO Board discusses capital needs separately. There is not a budget process for The SPARK Reserves, but the PTO Board works closely with the Principal and GO Team to determine capital needs as needs arise.
Proposal Guidelines, Spending
A project lead should submit a proposal to the PTO Board Co-Presidents stating the purpose and description of the project, equipment, etc. If the projected cost is over $5,000, project lead must present three (3) separate quotes. If quote(s) amounts <$15,000, project needs majority vote by PTO Board. If quote(s) amounts >$15,000, it needs majority vote by PTO Board and GO Team. Since The SPARK Reserves is not a Foundation, we do not have IRS annual payout minimums. The PTO Board is in the process of documenting spending and replenishment guidelines.