The annual Los Altos School District Junior Olympics celebrates more than friendly athletic competition and community. For years, this rite of spring has also marked the completion of the Los Altos Educational Foundation’s fundraising season and the official presentation of the funds to the district.
Despite a 30 percent increase in LAEF’s commitment, the check donated at Saturday’s Junior Olympics met LAEF’s goal. As part of the opening ceremonies, outgoing LAEF President Glenn Goldberg presented a $2.35 million check to Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier, capping a year of support from district parents.
The goal, set at the end of the 2009-2010 school year, became part of the district’s 2010-2011 budgeted revenues, directed toward teachers and enrichment programs. LAEF’s annual support benefits K-8 students across the nine district schools by supplementing the funding to maintain small class sizes, art, music, science and PE in the elementary schools and electives and teacher-in-charge positions in the junior highs.
“This time last year, parents strongly encouraged us to ‘go big’ with our LAEF grant for this year, knowing there was an extra-large budget gap to fill,” Goldberg said. “We took a risk increasing our grant 30 percent, because we’d never failed to make our number – but parents came through with the donations. Even in these tough times, LASD parents show unwavering commitment to high-quality public school education. They turned out in record numbers to donate more than any prior year.”
LAEF will announce the goal for next year’s grant by early June. The new executive board is planning for next year, grappling with continuing state education revenue losses that continue to exacerbate budget challenges in the district.
Parent volunteer officers for the upcoming school year are Co-presidents Kristine Bardman and Joe Seither, Vice President Marcia Chmyz, Treasurer Rick Altinger and Secretary Jennifer Carlstrom. Three parent volunteers from each of the nine schools represented on the foundation’s board of directors will be announced in the fall.
For decades, local taxes and parent donations have been needed to close an increasing gap in state funding. While the combination of the district’s parcel tax, PTA fundraisers and the LAEF annual grant provide nearly one-third of the district’s annual revenue, the district spends less per student than many other local districts. Parent donations and local funding enable the district to attract and retain teachers and sustain programs.
“Parents in the Los Altos School District believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a superior education here in Los Altos public schools,” Bardman said. “We survey parents each year and listen carefully to their goals and priorities for how to best apply their contribution to the LAEF grant. The partnership among LAEF, PTA and the district is very strong, with shared concern and focus on making decisions that are best for students.”
Having reached its 2010-2011 target, LAEF is accepting donations for the 2011-2012 school year. The foundation’s goal is 100 percent participation from families residing in the district.
To donate online as a one-time contribution or in automatic monthly installments, visit laefonline.net/donate. Other options include donations via credit card, PayPal or Google Checkout.
For more information, visit laefonline.net.