The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

PS249 Caton School Fundraiser Monday 4-7 PM

The Q has taken part in many, many fundraisers over the years. He's a fundraiser himself, and thought he'd seen 'em all. But this one takes the cake, er the fries.

Tomorrow, Monday June 17, from 4-7PM, stop by our neighborhood McDonald's at Parkside  'n Ocean and order your favorite menu items, as you will be served by principal and teachers from the Caton School, the delightful neighborhood District 17 school located just south of the Parade Ground on Caton.

Why would you do it? Because the profits for those three hours go to the school. You eat burgers, the school gets books. You suck down shakes, the school gets to retain that para.

I know what you're saying. McDonald's and grade school kids don't mix. It's not the right message.  Childhood obesity is an epidemic and McDonald's is partly to blame. Well...okay. But...okay, you're right. Sort of, yes. BUT, and this is a big BUTT. The manager has shown a renewed interest in communicating with the community. And the renovation is 100% welcome. They've even loosened the policy on hanging out, so that seniors can linger over coffee, an issue that irked some of the old timers. And it is, after all, a fundraiser.

So yeah, it's a little weird. Trying to put the best face on it. And I will definitely go get me some fries. And a shake. Probably not the burger though. Gooooooooooo CATON!!!


27 comments:

Anonymous said...

So a elementary school local to our neighborhood has decided to partner with a fast food empire. Why does this not surprise me? I'm sure as hell PS 58 in Carroll Gardens is not partnering with the McDonald's at Smith and Hamilton Street or PS 329 partnering with the McDonald's at 9th Street btwn 5th and 4th Avenues. What the hell is wrong with this neighborhood. Do residents here have no dignity. What a shame. And Q if u want to lecture me, go right ahead.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I'll lecture you on nothing but refusing to leave a screen name. For shame!

babs said...

Still, I think it will be fun for the kids to work behind the counter - or not, and maybe that will convince them to stay in school and go to college so they don't have to wind up working at Mickey D's...

babs said...

Oops, just realized it was only the adults, not the kids. Well, it will be fun for them to see their teachers serving up the burgers. But I really can't think of anything there that I would put into my body. Maybe their new smoothie?

Anonymous said...

McDonald's.

At the corporate level, about 30 cents of every dollar from sales is pre-tax profit.

So, if that ratio holds at the operational level, then if customers hand over $1,000 during the hours of the fundraising, the school should receive about $300.

That aside, the annual expenditure per kid by the NY City Department of Education is now about $20,000.

In a fiscally balanced education system, that per-kid sum should more than cover every academic need. But it never does. The cost of pension payments and retiree healthcare premiums eat up a lot of that $20,000.

And the School Construction Authority is a black hole that consumes about $2 billion a year, for which the accounting is incomplete.

diak said...

At Toys R Us once, I saw something something even sadder: a McDonald's playset complete with cash register and make-believe food and maybe a paper hat.
It's elitist, I know, but couldn't help but think "what kind of parent...?"
And pity the kid who spends Christmas morning learning to say, "Fries with that?"

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Just-Like-Home-McDonalds-Cash-Register-10-Piece-Playset-/190846966406

The Snob said...

I applaud the teacher or parent who went out of their way to seek corporate funding for their school. You may not like McDonalds -- and of course the Snob doesn't -- but it's a very small percentage of working parents who can devote themselves to raising additional capital for their kids' education, from any source. That is what's wrong with this neighborhood, and it's wrong with most NYC neighborhoods.

MadMommaCarmen said...

Yup, ditto 100% what The Snob said. Its not my cup of tea either, but the process of reaching out to the corporation is in itself a learning experience in bridge building within one's own community.

Anonymous said...

I played with a McDonald's playset when I was a kid, and worked in fast food in high school and college. Didn't warp me in any way. (though I still enjoy the occasional big-mac, which some may consider warped).

-Paul G.

disco princess said...

For those of you who are pooh-poohing a McDonald's fundraiser for the school, I wonder if you have any better ideas. It's a little more creative than having the kiddies lugging around boxes of candy bars to sell.

Of course, the fact that the school feels compelled to raise additional funds in the first place is a real shame.

ceelledee said...

Snob, I agree with you completely. This is called grassroots fundraising. It's creative, simple to execute, and targets donor responses on the ground. Most of all it's about a community-business partnership for the common good. So, why bother to invest negative energy in knocking the efforts of some neighborhood folk who, instead of whining on a blog, are actually just trying to get something good done? Can't we for once have a thread that doesn't descend into labeling the nabe as "wrong" and the locals "undignified"?

disco princess said...

ceelledee's comment "Can't we for once have a thread that doesn't descend into labeling the nabe as "wrong" and the locals "undignified"?" hit the head on what bothered me about Anonymous's comment from last night (8:36 pm). I'm tired of people making these underhanded digs the "locals" and then hiding behind the moniker "Anonymous". I wonder whether this "Anonymous" person sends his/her kids to that school (if this person even has kids). If so, that would temper the disappointment "Anonymous" has in the nature of the fundraiser.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

God bless Ceel le Dee for taking care of business. If you want to knock a school for putting the FUN back in fundraiser...

I'll bet they'll make a lot more money at Mickey D's than they would have at the Organic Addict Attic & Muffin Oven, a business that I considered opening on Caton but then reconsidered when I realized that one of the key points to consider when opening a business is the possibility of turning a profit.

C'mon guys, have a sense of humor. But yeah, it's a little off, though "undignified" is kinda the point.

babs said...

Apart from the actual fundraising part, I think this event has potential for other positive outcomes. Many, many people from all walks of life, even in "gentrified" neighborhoods, continue to eat at MacDo, and having the chance for them to interact with the school's teachers and principal can do a lot for the school's PR efforts, even if it's only in terms of making people aware that they're there and are an option for their child's education.

Second, as I noted above, I'll bet the kids get a hoot out of seeing their teachers working the registers and serving people.

Healthwise it may not be the best idea out there, but it certainly does indicate that there's some creative thinking going on at the school (and beats those mediocre candy bars, as someone pointed out above)!

And who knows - I could love that smoothie so much that I'll be back for more (although the one on Empire is closer to my house).

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am happy to see the owner of the McDonalds be responsive to the neighborhood and be willing to take a supporting role in the local public schools. So, yay, I think this is a great sign of things that can be done. :-)

Jen

Ronald McD said...

Thanks guys. I needed that. Been down so long, it looked like up to me...

Now I can get back to destroying the planet and everybody and everything in it. Where'd I put that industrial chicken grinder? Oh here it is. Here chick, chick, chick.

Anonymous said...

Fundraising ideas?

How about going to the school's Dept of Ed website where you can link to the school's budget. Look at each line item and see if it's some of the funding might benefit students more if it's redirected down some other avenues.

The principal has some discretion. It's possible to shift a few bucks here and there.

Maybe it's a good time to seek out grants. That takes work, but...

If books themselves are in short supply, a plea to McGraw Hill might yield something.

There are people in Brooklyn who work for McGraw Hill -- it owns Standard & Poors and Capital IQ in addition to its book and testing divisions.

Anonymous said...

I imagine Anonymous does not work in a school...you have no idea how tough it is to make a school work with the amount of money allocated. Each spring principals basically work magic to keep their schools running.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:59,

The DOE itself budgets $20,000 per kid per year. It goes somewhere, and those places it goes are not all under the control of the chancellor.

One of the bigger rip-offs in the system is the scandalous matter of textbooks. Their intrinsic cost is very low, but their price to the Dept of Ed is punishingly high, like drugs covered by health insurance policies.

Moreover, some public schools in Brooklyn have managed to pick up a few bucks/benefits by exploiting the ideas I mentioned.

Anonymous said...

All you people do is WHINE and offer nothing in the way of alternatives.

Anonymous said...

All of you slandering PS249 The Caton for this should be ashamed! The New York City Department of Education is one of the biggest corrupt bureaucratic swamps I have ever encountered, and you should know that they cut millions annually from public schools (especially the arts) to hire recent college-grad clueless young adults to take over the nation's largest educational system, all they do is waste money, and guess what? Schools lose art, theater, music programs because of this and lose teachers.

The Caton is a very good school, as a proud graduate myself. I will make sure to stop by Parkside's infamous McD's tomorrow afternoon/night. You all should too! The Caton is one of the few good schools in D17. Shame on you for slandering. And shame on the DOE for making schools become so desperate and hit this all time low. It's sickening how Billionberg has damaged NYC public schools.

eggs! said...

My wife and I have been trying for weeks to get information on how to get our daughter into Caton for the fall semester. We were both working during this event and couldn't meet the principal (who hopefully could have given us answers). Whenever we have called, we've received endless runaround and people working at the school who were basically just trying to get off the phone as soon as possible with a why-did-I-pick-up-the-phone-in-the-first-place attitude. Anybody have any suggestions as how to proceed to getting her enrolled or on the wait list? We signed up for universal pre-K and Caton was one of our picks but we were not accepted. Any help would be Greatly appreciated.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Hey Eggs. Q here. First, I'd say read my post on the school:
http://theqatparkside.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-qs-school-tool-part-3-ps249-caton.html

Send me an email and I'll tell you all I know.

But the bottom line is, they're not set up for customer service. It's a common complaint, so don't take it personally. It's bizarre in this day and age to not have a decent email response, or person to speak to on the phone, but there it is. The school personnel are almost universally lovely once you get past the gatekeepers though, so it's hard to fathom why they would want to have such a negative public persona. Even their website is very off putting to outsiders.

That said, I have nothing but warm feeling for the school. Please go there personally and ask to speak to anyone who's available, particularly the parent rep, but anyone will do - an assistant principal etc. If they make you fill out a form to come back, do it. It's well worth it, I think.

Peace to thee, Sir Eggs!

The Snob said...

Eggs, there's always LGCS. Speaking of which, we just had an event for hundreds of kids and no plastic water bottles or crummy juice. Just paper cups and NYC's finest tap water. Who says there's no dignity in the PLG?

babs said...

Well I went by on Monday at 5:30 and was told that the fundraiser had been postponed because the school didn't show up. Anybody know if it's been rescheduled?

school fundraising said...

The Caton is an exceptionally great school, as a glad graduate myself. I will make a point to stop by Parkside's notorious Mcd's tomorrow afternoon/night. All of you may as well as well! The Caton is one of the few great schools in D17.

Jimmy McNulty said...

Very interesting article here. I like some of the ideas and guidelines that you have outlined. At my sons school we recently did a zumba night for the parents. We made good money but not as well as we do in our main fundraiser, trivia night. Complete with a spinning prize wheel.