The giant pot of money that public schools don't touch

Schoolbus with hundred dollar bills
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Billionaire financier Steve Schwarzman this week donated $25 million to the public high school from which he graduated in 1965. It is believed to be the largest-ever gift of its kind, and Schwarzman hopes it will encourage other public schools to fundraise from their alumni.

Why it matters: More than 90% of America's 56 million K-12 students attend public schools, and 3.3 million of them are expected to graduate this year from high school. Almost none are ever asked for donations, despite clear needs to improve academic proficiency and an increased reliance on student fees to fund extracurricular activities.