Five years ago, I became a new parent at Mt. Washington Elementary. I still remember every emotion I went through and my boss was genuinely worried I wasn't going to make it to my September 15th deadline without having a nervous breakdown. I was so relieved that I didn't have to pay for my child's preschool anymore, but at the same time, I was so worried that he was going from a class of 8-10 students to a class of over 20 students. When I arrived at the school, I was thankful that our kindergarten teachers had teachers' aides to support them, and that the heart of this community was equally generous with their time as they were with the money to fund those TAs. Through volunteering, I met two wonderful ladies (who will always be two of my favorite humans) who both volunteered at school almost on a daily basis. My fears were calmed with the additional TAs and parent volunteers and I never did have that breakdown my boss feared.


As a new family at MWE, we didn't contribute (financially) to all of the services that Wyatt received that year. Those services were already paid for in the prior school year because LAUSD requires payment upfront (in the prior school year). As such, the same rings true for every new parent at the school.


I also remembered feeling confused as to how much to donate as a new parent and wanted to offer the below hopefully helpful facts/guidelines:

  • The PTA spends over $600 on each child. The entirety of what we raise during Direct Appeal goes towards just paying for school services, like the intervention teacher, TAs, psychiatric social worker (to help our kids emotional well being). The amount we spend on school services, every year, exceed what we raise in Direct Appeal, which is why we have additional fun events throughout the year (e.g. Mt. Washington Made, Pancake Breakfast, Halloween Carnival, etc.)
  • Our money is well spent - Mrs. Gravino discussed extensively the results of the improved literacy test results at Back to School Night. If you'd like more details, please feel free to email me at
  • We offer monthly payments. We don't require your donation all at once. We can take the amount of your donation and apply it every month automatically for 8 months.
  • Prior to the strikes, 15% of our community was considered socioeconomically disadvantaged. Moreover, the Direct Appeal survey indicates that 32.4% of our community is affected by the strikes. Of those affected, 17.4% have lost their income entirely and 43.5% have lost their income between 50-75%. For those of us not affected by the strikes, I ask that we consider those who are and consider bumping up your donation by 10-20%. #MWEtogether
  • Some FAQs answered here:
  • For the new families who are looking for an exact amount of how exactly how much you should donate, we offer the below sliding scale based on income. To emphasize, the below amounts are just suggestions. Donate what you can. Every dollar is appreciated.
    • Less than $50k/year, suggested donation = $120 or $15/month for 8 months
    • $50 – 100k/year, suggested donation = $400 or $50/month for 8 months
    • $100 – 150k/year, suggested donation = $1,000 or $125/month for 8 months
    • $150 – 200k/year, suggested donation = $2,000 or $250/month for 8 months
    • More than $200k/year, suggested donation = $4,000 or $500/month for 8 months
    • Or, if you’re a new family, and it's within your reach, we would appreciate a donation the equivalent of three month’s preschool tuition.

For a quick crash course on fundraising for public schools in LAUSD, we offer this article.


Lastly, we understand that everyone's financial situation is different. Additionally, whether we like it or not, life happens. Situations just pop-up. Situations that cost money, sometimes a lot of money. As such, we hope that the message is clear that donations are voluntary.


I hope the above has been helpful. If you can, please donate today. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at


With love and gratitude,


Wyatt's mom

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