Last updateTue, 23 Jan 2018 4pm


Education foundations meet goals despite weak economy

LAEF raises $1.92 million

Underscoring the allegiance the Los Altos community has to its public schools, the Los Altos Educational Foundation (LAEF) reported this month that it has raised $1.92 million, fulfilling its financial commitment to the Los Altos School District for the 2008-2009 school year.

In response to an increasingly challenging economic climate, the foundation stepped up its fundraising campaign and many parents in the district made additional contributions, which resulted in the largest contribution in the foundation’s history.

The grant enables the district to pay for teachers and aides to maintain smaller class sizes and enrichment programs such as technology, science, art, music and physical education for children in grades K-8. LAEF increased its fundraising goal by $200,200 over the 2007-2008 grant to sustain and enhance the programs.

Key programs funded district-wide this year included a writing program that uses a step-by-step approach to the writing process, ongoing science initiatives and "best practices" training for teachers to better use digital technologies.

For more than 26 years, the foundation has increased its fundraising goal twentyfold to meet the growing needs of the district as a result of declining state funding.

District officials credit the educational foundation for making the programs possible.

"This year's financial goal commitment was particularly daunting for (the foundation) given the current economic crisis. We are grateful to members of the Los Altos community for again demonstrating their commitment to excellence in education through their generous donations," said Teresa Kersten, foundation president. "(Foundation) contributions are critical for the (district) to keep class sizes small and provide important enrichment programs that will help enable our students to compete effectively in the 21st century."

The foundation has contributed more than $17.1 million over its 26-year existence to enhance the district's academic program. School administrators and staff rely on the additional resources made possible by foundation funding.

"The deep cuts in state funding for public education this year have had considerable impact on our district as well as many others. Thanks to (the foundation's) significant financial support, we will be able to maintain key programs that many other districts throughout the state have been forced to eliminate," Superintendent Tim Justus said.

Founded in 1982, the Los Altos Educational Foundation, supported through the contributions of parents and matching funds from their employers, is the fundraising arm of the school district.

For more information, call 559-0445 or visit www.laefonline.org.

MVLA foundation raises $700,000

Members of the Mountain View-Los Altos High School Foundation presented a check for $700,000, the full amount pledged, to District Superintendent Barry Groves recently. Groves acknowledged the group's hard work as he accepted the donation on behalf of the district.

"There are a number of great programs such as Tutorial Centers and college counseling that our high school students need and deserve but our district simply cannot afford to provide with state funding," he said. "With the donation from the foundation, we were able to make these programs available to all our students."

Local parents and community members support the foundation, which contributes funds for the academic programs at Los Altos, Mountain View, Alta Vista and Freestyle high schools.

"We are thrilled to meet our financial commitment to the district despite the current economic downturn," said Cindy Anderson, foundation president. "I feel lucky to live in a community that recognizes the importance of helping kids succeed in high school and beyond."

Approximately half of this year's record donation paid for reduced class sizes, instructional technologies and online access to grades and assignments. A quarter funded programs that supported learning outside the classroom, such as Tutorial Centers and enhanced libraries. The remainder sustained college admission functions, such as college center coordinators and their training, testing fees and college application software.

Although the school year is not yet over, planning is already underway for the next school year.

Anderson said that although foundation members are concerned about raising money in this economy, they have retained the goal of $700,000 for next year, which leaves the suggested donation at $700 per student.

"But we hope those who can't donate at that level next year will still contribute," Anderson said. "We are going to need everyone's help,"

"I think parents know their kids' years in high school pass quickly," Groves said. "It would be a great loss for everyone if we had to discontinue these programs until everyone's portfolios fully recover."

For more information, visit www.mvla.net/foundation.

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