Dear Parent,

The season of giving has arrived. Can’t you just feel it? We can. We’ve felt its hot maw around our necks since the summer. It’s very hungry this year. The turbulent, all-consuming fundraising monster. Bake sales aren’t enough. It wants what’s left of our sanity.

We at Honest Charter acknowledge you’ve already given our students so much. Your dedication to finishing assignments, support of extracurriculars, and commitment to wellness. But those things are immaterial. Can you not see this? The monster fiends for cash. Sure, toss your soup cans and jackets into the cardboard boxes by the emergency exits all you like. We need the money you’re making at your cushy jobs. So donate, you Apple-watch-wearing, conference-call-making cheapskates. Give like our school has a big boo-boo. Because it does!

That’s no metaphor. We’re bleeding in various ways. We know your household income. Float us a nice chunk of it before the end of this fiscal quarter.

The stakes are high and clear. We have your children. Returning them is conditional. As a charter school, we are privately managed and nonunion. We do not abide by district rules. Give, or your entire family will be mandatorily volunteered for what we call the “Eternal Walkathon.”

Do you know the endless cycle of fundraising has driven many of us to divorce? Or that at our last board meeting, Treasurer Pat Janess threatened us with a broken paintbrush handle?

Your contribution is meaningful. A greater contribution is more meaningful. It’s simple math. This year’s needs include sustainably-harvested felt, indigenous ukuleles, tankards of Pedialyte for our hungover teachers, child-sized bulletproof vests, and whatever schoolbooks Finland uses to make their students smarter than ours.

We’re also desperate for a celebrity scholar. We’re not asking for a Suri or a Blue Ivy. We know our limits. If mommy or daddy stars in an Amazon Prime show, we should be fine.

In previous appeals, we had disclosed our budget shortfall, broke down the numbers per pupil, and spoke of our failure to secure critical grants. Nothing works. What’s it going to take? Another silent auction featuring a coffee date with failed novelist and English teacher Richard Nevins? He’s docile and has most of his hair. What about a bake sale with Xanax cupcakes and other mystery edibles? We’re out of ideas.

A few years ago after the Harvest Festival, we locked ourselves in the cafeteria kitchen, chugged hand sanitizer, and played five-finger fillet until Social Chair Edwin Toomey lopped off the top of his left pinkie. The pain was so intense, we let him huff acetone from the locked cabinet in Mrs. Trellenberg’s art room. Since then, it’s become something of an annual tradition. We do it mostly for release, although the sacrificial element is hard to deny.

Attached are pictures of our October recital, “The Gift of Life,” a magical evening of royalty-free theatrical productions and public domain songs that raised over $25,000, which wasn’t enough to cover general operating expenses. Why is it never enough? Where is the reprieve? You could make all of this pain go away. Put the Shopkins and pinot noir back on the shelf and end all of this by forking over your filthy lucre. Now.

We’re not proud that our classrooms are glorified shipping containers. Our dignity comes from a love of teaching. The hardened look on a child’s face when he or she fixes our outdated knob-and-tube wiring is miraculous. We learn along with them. We’ve learned that afternoon panic attacks sneak up on you. We’ve learned that KidzTech LapPads have been recalled, thus blowing our entire reserve fund. Press the money on the ouchie and staunch the bleeding. Think of what Pat Janess might brandish this year if we can’t secure field trip transportation.
Think of poor Edwin’s remaining fingers.

Donate before we start saying things like “We love Betsy DeVos!” out loud.

And don’t forget to book your calendars for the New Year’s Gala!

Your Friends at the Honest Charter School