YES Frequently Asked Questions

What is YES?

YES is the non-profit education foundation for the Ross Valley School District that raises money to fund arts and other programs for our four elementary schools and one middle school. We also play an important advocacy role in the District to support arts education as a core curriculum element.

Why do our schools need this funding? Isn’t public school free?

California’s educational funding has been drastically cut over the past 30 years. Today the state ranks 49th in school spending and as a result, programs including art, music and libraries that used to be included in standard public school curriculum are at risk of being discontinued or severely scaled back.

State funding, property taxes and parcel taxes alone do not cover the funding gap for the quality education that our community wants to provide for our kindergarten to 8th-grade children. In addition, enrollment in our district increases every year and the additional state funding our district receives for new students isn’t sufficient to cover all costs associated with increased enrollment.

What programs does YES support?

YES funds high-quality instruction for art, music, poetry and STEAM (Science Technology Arts Engineering and Math); theater productions; library books; and middle school special interest clubs, after-school sports and PE dance. The simple truth is that without YES these programs would be cut or severely scaled back.

The classes and programs that YES funds are essential for our children’s success. Theater, art and STEAM, for example, provide unique opportunities and environments for collaborative, creative problem solving and team work. All our programs foster confidence and self-esteem, inspire creativity and provide a breadth of experiences that uncover each child’s unique talents.

How does YES raise funds?

This year YES will raise approximately $1 million for our schools through parent and business donations, the Shop for YES program and special events, such as parent-hosted parties and the Online Auction. Each funding source is critical to providing the support needed to keep our programs thriving. The dedication and hard work of our YES parent volunteers is what makes YES fundraising activities and community-building events possible.

How much should I donate to Family Giving?

For the 2017-2018 school year, we are asking those who can to donate $750 per child. Please join the more than 1,000 families in our district and community who support Family and Community Giving every year by making a donation of any amount that is meaningful to you. Every contribution, no matter what amount, is appreciated and valued. Contributions can be made by check, credit card, with stock, and/or through corporate matching.

We support many different ways to donate and contributions can be spread out into monthly installments. Click here to donate today!

How can I help if I can’t give a big amount all at once?

There are many ways you can help support our schools! First, any and every contribution makes a difference, no matter what the amount. You can spread your donation out over 10 months using a credit card or debit card. You can also support YES through corporate donation matching programs or by using Shop for YES Community Cards, signing up for eScrip and using the unique YES Amazon shopping link on the YES website. Shop for YES, eScrip and Amazon earn a percentage for YES every time you shop. Signing up for eScrip is easy and you can order your YES Community Cards online.

What is the difference between what YES funds and what the parent clubs and parent teacher organizations at the individual schools fund? Should I be donating to both?

Yes both are important! We are all working together to provide the best possible programs and resources for our kids. YES raises funds for district-wide programs that benefit every child in our schools. Each school has its own parent club, PTO or PTA that raises funds for its own campus through an annual fund raising event. These funds are used for campus beautification, emergency preparedness support and training, PE and playground equipment, teacher grants and more. Together, YES and all parent teacher organizations provide the funding that our district needs to provide the high-quality experience we expect for our kids. For more information on what YES funds and parent clubs, PTOs and PTAs fund see “What’s the Difference Between YES and My Parent Club/PTO/PTA?

Where does the money YES raises come from and how is it spent?

About 75 percent of our funding comes from parents through the annual Family Giving campaign. About 75 percent of our budget goes to art and music, where we pay for teacher salaries as well as program supplies. The money we raise now pays for this year’s programs and salaries so it is critical that we meet our fundraising goals. Details on our annual budget and expenses are available at YES budget.

Which businesses in our community donate to YES?

Many businesses throughout both San Anselmo and Fairfax donate generously to YES. For a full list, please see YES Business Partners or the Family Directory.

I am a local business owner. How can I get involved in the YES Business Partners program?

Participating businesses receive numerous benefits as a YES supporter, depending on their level of commitment. Contact Julie Quater or see YES Business Partners.

Who makes up YES?

YES is all of us – parents, teachers, administrators, business people and other active members of our community who care about quality education for our children. The foundation is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors and run by a small staff. The participants of our 25-member board come directly from our parent community and also include two teachers and a school administrator with full voting rights. The district superintendent, a school board trustee and the lead art and music teachers also participate on the board as non-voting members.

Our part-time staff includes an executive director, administrator, business development coordinator, accountant and bookkeeper. We keep our overhead costs at about 10 percent of our annual budget. The foundation also relies on numerous volunteers from our community to help make events such as our online auction and student art shows happen throughout the year.

What is your board selection process?

The YES Board Nomination Committee convenes every spring to review open board positions. Committee members reach out to each school and the community at large to recruit interested and skilled parents to fill the open positions. The new board for the following school year is seated at the last meeting of the current year, generally in late May or early June.

How are decisions made by the board?

Budget decisions are made twice a year. At the end of the school year, at the board’s last meeting, a projected budget for the next year is proposed by the Executive Committee and discussed and approved by the board based on revenue projections, art and music salary projections and other anticipated program and overhead costs. Programs also make proposals for new initiatives that are discussed and either tabled or approved. In October, after the previous school year’s costs have been finalized and the district has confirmed enrollment numbers and salaries, the board discusses and approves a revised budget for the rest of the school year. Other decisions, such as new fundraisers, changes to the board makeup, overhead or volunteer structures are started in the Executive Committee where proposals and/or recommendations are presented to the board for discussion and approval/disapproval.

Who should I contact if I’m interested in serving on the board?

We are always looking for parents and community members to participate in the important work of our board. If you are interested in serving on our board or in any volunteer capacity, please contact Julie Quater.

Why do I keep getting emails and requests to donate when we’ve already given?

Solicitation emails that come directly from YES do not include current contributors, but some of the emails for YES come from school principals and YES campus teams. The email lists used for these mailings are not segmented between those who have contributed and those who haven’t to protect the privacy of all our parents. Also some emails with YES news about programs and events will include a donation message to encourage those families that haven’t donated. We realize it may sometimes be frustrating to receive these messages once you’ve donated, 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.

What is Shop for YES?

Shop for YES is a free and easy way to earn money for YES while you shop in our community. All you need to do is order your Community Cards for United Markets or Good Earth and sign up for eScrip, and every time you shop you’ll earn money for YES. Present your Community or eScrip Cards when you check out and the store automatically donates up to 3 percent of your purchase to YES. To generate up to 8.5% of Amazon purchases for YES, use the Amazon link on the YES website and bookmark the link for use every time you shop. Shop for YES revenue represents a significant part of the YES budget and is free to everyone who participates! Order your Community Cards today or pick them up at your school office. Signing up for eScrip is easy too; just follow the instructions on the Shop for YES page.

Does YES have a Facebook page?

Yes! “Like” us today to get pictures, updates and information on events!