The Prairie Elementary Excellence in Education Fund (Prairie Fund) is a non-profit, charitable fund supported by Prairie parents, businesses and other organizations who want to financially support Prairie’s growth.
What is the Prairie Fund’s connection to the PTA?
The PTA’s job is to plan and manage events to raise funds for Prairie. The Prairie Fund is the entity that houses those funds so they can be tax deductible. The PTA President-Elect sits on the Prairie Fund Advisory Committee. The two groups work closely together to raise funds for Prairie.
What did the Prairie Fund contribute to this school year?
The Prairie Fund is paying for a half-time school counselor, half-time Reading Specialist and the Spanish program. Click here to learn more about why we fund these programs.
Is the Prairie Fund controlled by the school district?
No. The Prairie Fund, made up of volunteer parents, administers the funds. All monies donated to the Prairie Fund can only be used for our school. Mr. Merfen is on the Prairie Fund, as well as one staff member.
How does the district influence how we spend money at Prairie?
The school district has guidelines we must follow when providing private (Prairie Fund) money to pay the salary of a district employee. For non-employee expenses, we have more discretion about where dollars are allocated.
How does the Prairie Fund decide what to spend money on?
The Prairie Fund works with Mr. Merfen and sends out surveys to the staff and parents to get feedback on how contributions can best help the school. This changes every year based on the amount of funds donated and the district’s changes to education funding. Click here to learn more about why we fund the School Counselor, Reading Specialist and the Spanish program.
Who manages the money?
The Prairie Fund is established as a specialized fund at the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation (SMEF). SMEF administers the funds and provides many benefits including investment services. SMEF is an independent foundation and is not an extension of the administration of the school district.
Where do I send donations?
Cash donations to the Prairie Fund can be sent directly to school. Checks should be made payable to: “SMEF/Prairie Fund.” If you have services, supplies or items of value you are willing to donate, please contact any PTA Board Member or any Prairie Fund Board member.
What are other schools doing?
Other schools have also established their own supplemental educational funds. Our Prairie Fund has served as an inspiration and template for other schools to follow.