Re: A Quandary

1

A pro-rata share?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:00 AM
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Is there any way that cohomology could help? Perhaps each gymnast's expenses could be treated as a topological space defined by a function of personal effort, natural talent, and whether or not their parents allow themselves a life.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:00 AM
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Some formula should be worked out before the season -- x% of fundraiser money is devoted to costs common to all students, y% to reimbursement for the next level of competition, and so on. It sounds from what you say as if they're arguing over reimbursement before you know what each parent has spent -- the formula should be set from the beginning, and reimbursement should be a predetermined application of the money available to each kid's actual expenses.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:04 AM
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4

Are they actually fundraising so well that they get more money up front than has already been paid in fees? If not, surely they wouldn't need to predict performance - just distribute by outlays to date, prorata as GY says.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:07 AM
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5

And even if they are fundraising in advance, it shouldn't be difficult to hold the money in reserve until there are expenditures to reimburse for.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:09 AM
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6

The problem is with the reimbursing. You can just avoid that whole issue by using the fundraiser funds to help pay expenses as they happen.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:26 AM
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7

They could forgo the distribution of collected money, and instead make a big vault of gold coins for swimming, Scrooge McDuck-style. Everyone likes big piles of money.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:28 AM
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8

Finally, who's ponying up at these fundraisers? The most likely would be the families and friends themselves, which gives the whole thing a "why bother?" feel.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:30 AM
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9

Look, heebie, there's nobody watching that money. Not 24 hours a day. You go in there after business hours -- not even late night, you understand, just seven or eight at night, so it's not suspicious -- and look around and I bet it won't even be in a locked drawer. Grab that bundle and I can get us half a key of Peruvian, no problem, I got a guy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:30 AM
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10

Or one of those windtunnel boxes where you have to grab as many bills as possible in one minute.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:30 AM
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11

8: it's like you've never heard of middlemen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:31 AM
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12

Anyhow I think heebie's point is that the amount fundraised never actually fully covers anybody's expenses, so should you try to get everybody square on the costs (practices) that are equal and then pay out any extra to people with additional costs, or should you pay in proportion to the fixed costs, or should you pay in proportion to the fixed costs plus an estimate of additional costs for the children who are really special and loved and destined to go far, or should you pay in proportion to the fixed costs and hold back a reserve for the variable costs which will be distributed as necessary at the end of the season, which is the right answer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:33 AM
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13

8 is my question too. With all of these fundraiser things, actually. Do people actually do an accounting of the money raised that subtracts out all of the costs? Or do they just have parents all volunteer to bring the various chili ingredients (or whatever it is), and then at the end say, look, we made $450!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:42 AM
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14

Competitive gymnastics means that there are judges involved, right? So, shouldn't all the money raised, be used to bribe the judges? They do want their kids to succeed, don't they?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:45 AM
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15

9 gets it right.

Somehow a youth soccer organization in one suburban town can have so much money that you can embezzle $80,000 and not be noticed for 3 years.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:57 AM
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16

There's no way the city soccer leagues have that much money to embezzle. I've looked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:58 AM
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13: Anecdotally, in at least some DC private schools, the formal rule is that the parent volunteers who organize the fundraiser can ask the school for reimbursement of expenses, but the informal practice is for most parent volunteers to treat the in-kind expenses as an additional donation to the school -- and of course the time of the volunteers is implicitly valued at zero or at least is another donation that is never formally accounted for.

From an economic perspective, it all seems to be grotesquely inefficient as compared to just writing checks. You either have to treat it as irrational behavior or else figure that it is rational but that a large part of the value generated by the process is non-monetary and doesn't go to the school (public displays of status, social networking, that sort of thing).


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:10 AM
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18

From an economic perspective, it all seems to be grotesquely inefficient as compared to just writing checks having higher fees and scholarships.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:14 AM
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19

From 15's link: "Any time you lose $82,000, it's a big deal," Garcia-Velez said, "but we were blessed that it took place over a number of years, and from an ancillary account."

An ancillary account had (at least) $82k running through it in three years? How much cash do these leagues have lying about?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:20 AM
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20

Our (as mentioned, stunningly expensive as is the custom around here) daycare has all these fucking pot lucks, but if not enough people volunteer to bring food, they buy pizza. Why would I volunteer to spend time and money to bring food if the day care (1) can afford to buy food and (2) will do that if I don't volunteer? Makes no goddamned sense.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:26 AM
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21

Some people enjoy cooking for other people. I don't know why, but I've seen it happen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:28 AM
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Ah, 12 makes sense. And it's right in its conclusion: methods that predict future relative successes are to be avoided.

I think the question of which costs to fully reimburse, if a choice is to be made, is hard to judge from outside as it gets to questions of who deserves what. If I were involved, I'd press for it to go preferentially or entirely to families of students on free or reduced lunch, but I can't imagine that being adopted. Anyway, straight prorata would probably generate the least new arguments compared to other methods.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:29 AM
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20: Are the potlucks for the parents to socialize with the teachers and the kids to play or something? Our (as mentioned, ludicrously inexpensive and mostly for poor people, sorry) daycare/aftercare had an open house where representatives from lots of the local social service organizations explained what they do and everyone got a piece of pizza and there was a popcorn machine and you had to vote on which room was decorated best for fall. It was nice to see the girls' friends and teachers in a slightly different context and they did get a few new families enrolled. Other than that, though, we're not allowed to do outside food stuff because they're part of a federal food program.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:39 AM
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re: 220

Ours, which is expensive-ish, but on the lower end around here, doesn't do any fund-raising.* What are the pot-lucks supposed to help raise funds for?

* about $2050 USD, per month, for a full time place.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:40 AM
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25

24: Do we now have to divide every number you say by ten?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:45 AM
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They aren't fundraisers. They're just, like, social things and/or membership meetings. They're pretty much a holdover from when it was a coöp. But yo, you want me to put in effort like it's a coöp charge rates like it's a coöp.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:56 AM
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25: $205.00 a month is pretty reasonable for day care.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 7:57 AM
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28

Just in case, let me say preemptively that I don't know any more than the first two lines of Jerusalem.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:02 AM
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Well, dividing the money appropriately is hard, but dealing with the arseholes in 'B' is easy: a quick kick in the balls/shins.


Posted by: Yogi | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:22 AM
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30

IME schools and daycares are not super-organized about lots of stuff. The best way to stay informed about either problems or possible ways to solve problems is face time. So fundraisers and the like are OK for social networking, which is actually useful, even if you don't much care for ultra cupcake lady. Easier with bigger kids,definitely.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:32 AM
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31

The money should be distributed to the families on the basis of merit. If you kid is the best - goes farthest in the finals or whatever - they get all their expenses covered. Maybe they even get a little bonus on top - they've earned it. Whatever is left over goes to cover the expenses of the second best kid, and then if any is left, it goes to cover the third best, etc.

This is the best way to encourage the kids to work hard, and be the best gymnasts they can be. This is much better than a system that tries to distribute the money "equitably", because that just encourages the takers at the bottom to be content with their poor gymnastics performance, and robs them of their incentive to do better.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:34 AM
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32

Sure, which is why we go to them. But I'll just eat the damn pizza and not bring some half-assed thing I bought from the prepared section of the store, thanks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:35 AM
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33

They should adopt the fundraising & distribution techniques of immigré Russian ballet schools: totally opaque but seemingly underpowered gathering techniques combined with distribution criteria so strangely impenetrable as to send roughly 92.7% of parents straight round the bend.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:35 AM
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34

32 to 30.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:37 AM
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35

My nephew's track team has a similar dilemma. It is solved by having all decisions (of which money is only one small aspect) made by the terrifying coach whom no one dares question.

I can believe a soccer league has that much money to embezzlers. When I was running an Ultimate league, it struck me that with slightly higher fees, someone could make a full time living as a league organizer. You'll only need three seasons per year, with about eight teams.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:56 AM
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36

From an economic perspective, it all seems to be grotesquely inefficient as compared to just writing checks.

In my home in Deep Redstatia, the local superintendent of schools thought the same thing, and arranged to get a measure on the ballot that essentially said, "We are going to add an additional surcharge of x% on top of the property tax levy to fund extracurricular activities in the schools. In return, we will prohibit school clubs from selling anything as fundraisers*." It passed easily, in a pretty anti-tax environment.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:59 AM
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37


The asterisk in 36 was going to be that there must have been some kind of carveout that allowed the athletic booster clubs to continue operating the concession stands at ballgames.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 9:00 AM
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38

Is there any kind of scholarship/financial aid component? Affording these fees is a lot harder for some than for others.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 9:05 AM
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39

Probably, but you don't want that widely publicized, right? The parents running the boosters shouldn't know who is getting various discounts; presumably the reimbursements can be run through the gym and the gym can pocket the reimbursements that go to scholarship kids.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 10:01 AM
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The asterisk in 36 was going to be that there must have been some kind of carveout that allowed the athletic booster clubs to continue operating the concession stands at ballgames.

Another one of those sentences that really doesn't cross the Atlantic.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 10:21 AM
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As for A, how high are the costs? What's the minimum for the parents of the lazy kids, the maximum for the Olympic-track kid with the stage parents living vicariously through them, and the average? And how even is the distribution - a bell curve or bimodal or what?

If the difference between the average kid and the most expensive Olympic-track kid is only, say, 100 percent (that is, normal kid's parents owe $500, stage parents owe $1000), then reimbursement should be either need-based or completely even. That might not be very fair, but anything fairer would be too much time and stress for too little difference in the end result, so suck it up. If the differences are significantly bigger than that, then I'd break it up into three or at most four tiers. A kid in the lowest tier gets one share, a kid in the highest gets three or four shares. Financial need bumps the kid up one tier, maybe two as appropriate. The more money we're talking about, the more time it's worth putting into the fine-grained distinctions of this sytem.

As for B, any parents who argue in earnest that they deserve more based on the unpredictable factors like advancement goes down a tier.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 10:55 AM
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Adding: I assume that the costs would not be entirely defrayed for anyone in that tiered system. No preteens get to turn a profit on gymnastics, whether lazy or Olympic-track. If there's enough money sloshing around for that, any surplus goes to a pizza party. Or a fund for the benefit of any future embezzlers, but this system is meant to reduce the size of the checks parents have to write, not replace them entirely.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:16 PM
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