How The PTA Spends Your Money

Have you been wondering where your PTA donations go? Or what exactly the Murray PTA does? Read on to find out more about how your donations enhance life and learning at Murray Avenue Elementary School.

Dear Murray Parents:

As our first big fundraiser -- the Book Fair -- kicks off this week, we thought it would be helpful for parents in our community to know how the Murray Avenue PTA spends the money we solicit and collect.  We want you to know your donations are well-managed and spent carefully and thoughtfully in ways that enrich each and every student at Murray.

Thanks to YOU, the PTA runs more than 45 programs, events and initiatives.  Our programs enrich every student and impact all aspects of our Murray community -- students, teachers, administrators and parents.

Student-Focused Activities

Has your child had an opportunity to participate in a discussion with a children’s book author?  Or has he/she come home raving about an inspiring assembly?  The PTA sponsors several Author Visits throughout the year for all grades and hires amazing educational speakers to come speak about a variety of topics, from “mad science” to international cultural demonstrations and more.  Each grade also participates in a PTA-sponsored Cultural Arts program, starting in Kindergarten when dancers from the famed NYC Alvin Ailey studio come in to teach our children about movement.

Children may also come home talking about the incredible school-wide programs the PTA sponsors in cooperation with teachers and staff: Building Bridges (week-long program teaching children about people with different abilities), International Week (appreciation of different cultures), Art Appreciation (art history combined with art exploration), or our Murray Farms programming (hands-on, curriculum-based learning in our amazing garden).  A majority of eligible children also participate in our big events, such as the Science Fair, Crunchy Carnival and Walk to School Week.

The PTA also coordinates the very-popular After School Clubs (starting this Winter) and Murray Musical.  These programs are paid for by participants but would not run without the generosity of the many PTA volunteers who donate countless hours of their time.

Staff-Focused Activities

Our PTA Grants program has been increasing each year.  Through this program, teachers and staff apply for grants to enhance their classrooms with a wide variety of items, including Snap Circuit sets, Chromebooks, books, magazines, P.E. equipment, video cameras, orchestra stands and more.  Each year, teachers express profound gratitude for these grants.  This year, we have budgeted $15,000 for PTA grants, and we hope to spend every penny!

We support the staff in other ways as well.  Every time a new teacher starts at Murray, the PTA provides a monetary gift to help him/her buy items they can use to personalize and enhance their classrooms.  Teachers who experience milestones such as marriages or new babies also receive congratulatory gifts on behalf of the community.  Special treats are provided during the annual Teacher Appreciation Week, and at the end of the school year, every staff member is treated to a festive and much-deserved Staff Appreciation Lunch.  We are told our teachers love working at Murray!

Parent-Focused Activities

For Murray parents, we sponsor coffees with experts on a variety of topics, including Mindfulness, Digital Citizenship, Literacy, parenting topics and more.  We also use funds to reach out to new families and help them connect with the Murray community.  The aim of our Fall Festival is to provide a fun start to the school year and an opportunity for families and teachers to socialize.  We are always looking for new and creative ways to serve and connect parents.

Community-Wide Initiatives

The Murray PTA is also dedicated to promoting health, safety and community.  To this end, we sponsor Green Tiger environmental initiatives, Community Outreach programs and Allergy Awareness activities, and also support recess time with healthy and safe games and toys.  Our scholarship fund ensures that students whose families cannot afford enrichment programs are still able to participate.

This year, we are fortunate enough to have budgeted for a fund specifically aimed at enhancing the physical structures at Murray.  Although state and district regulations prevent us from making any major structural changes (including, unfortunately, much-desired air conditioning), we have identified the Murray Auditorium for capital improvements.  Anyone who has attended a concert, play or graduation in the Murray Auditorium knows that our audio-visual equipment is outdated and inadequate.  We are currently gathering estimates to give the auditorium a much-needed upgrade, with improved speaker quality and a new projector system.  Stay tuned for more information about this and other building improvements!

So... how can you help us with all of this?  We invite each and every parent - moms, dads, working parents, guardians, even grandparents - to get involved and volunteer in whatever manner you are able.  There is no better way to connect, meet friends, and feel involved in our wonderful community.  And DONATE!  Our three major fundraisers are the Book Fair in November, the Parents Night Out in March, and the Spring Fair in May.  Come, enjoy and spend, knowing that your funds will go right back into your child’s school!  If you have any questions about how you can be involved or the specifics of our budget, please do not hesitate to contact us at

With gratitude for your generosity,

Wendy Tannenbaum & Linnea Holmes
PTA Co-Presidents