Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Foundation? The mission of the Foundation is to raise funds to bridge the gap between public funding and the cost of a high quality education. The Foundation is a non-profit, 100% volunteer-based, community organization dedicated to fostering and enriching the tradition of educational excellence in the Las Lomitas Elementary School District. Our district is one of the most coveted school districts in California. Our award winning schools, outstanding enrichment programs, and strong community support all make the Las Lomitas School District an exceptional environment for children to flourish. Maintaining this standard of excellence requires annual community support.
2. Isn’t public education free? Proposition 13 in 1978 overhauled the way California property taxes were assessed by basing the tax rate on the property’s purchase price rather than the property’s assessed value. This tax reform dramatically lowered the total amount of money raised by counties and reduced expenditures for local police, fire, public libraries and public school education in California. In the three decades since, California has moved from the leader in U.S. public education standards to 35th in the nation in per pupil spending. Our District’s funding sources have been insufficient to provide the educational excellence that we parents desire and our children deserve.
3. It is so expensive to live here – aren’t my property taxes enough? Only 21 cents of every property tax dollar goes to the Las Lomitas Elementary School District. If local property taxes were the District’s only revenue, we would be spending $8,898 per child instead of the $13,333 required to maintain smaller class sizes and deliver a comprehensive curriculum. Doing the math, when a family with two children purchases an average priced District home for $1.7 million with annual property taxes of $20,400, only $4,284 goes to the District. That translates to $2,142 per child – well below our current level of funding at $13,333 per student.
4. Why should I donate to the Foundation? Three forces are straining our school district’s budget: 1) Our extraordinary schools have drawn attention to our community, leading to significantly higher enrollment. Enrollment has grown 18% from five years ago, yet our district does not receive any additional funding for increased enrollment*. 2) The lackluster economy over the past five years has curtailed our district’s revenues from property tax growth. 3) In the last five years, state funding for our district has dropped 66%, and Federal funding 36%.
The enduring success of our schools and students depends to a great extent on the continued, generous private support from the community. The combination of high enrollment, modest growth in property tax revenue, and declining State/Federal revenue make growth in Foundation support more critical than ever.
* We are a Basic Aid District, which means our state funding does not increase when our enrollment increases. Our resources are just spread across more students resulting in a lower expenditure per capita.
5. What impact did donations have for this school year? Parent, teachers, and community donations last year resulted in a gift of $2.4 million to the school district for the 2012-13 school year. Over 13% of our district’s budget is comprised of Foundation funding. In fact, the Foundation is the 2nd largest revenue source for the District (after property taxes.)
This has resulted in:
19 Additional Teachers for:
- - Reduced Las Lomitas avg. class size from 29 to 22
- - Reduced La Entrada avg. class size from 30 to 24
- - Music & P.E. instruction
- - Broad 6th-8th grade curriculum: Geometry, Foreign Language, Art, Drama Other Resources and Programs:
- - Guest Artist Instruction at Las Lomitas
- - Counselors at both schools
- - Reading Recovery at Las Lomitas
- - Science and technology enrichment
Without the generous donations to the Foundation last year, these levels of staffing, programs and resources would not have existed this year.
6. Do other local public schools fundraise too? All the other school districts in the state (locally there are Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Woodside, Los Altos, East Palo Alto/Ravenswood) have an education foundation. Woodside Elementary, for example, asks families to contribute $4,300 per child. We are asking for a minimum of $2,000 per child in order to raise $3.0 million for 2013-14.
7. What is the cost to donate compared to tuition at private schools or preschools? The quality of education offered at the Las Lomitas School District has often been compared to those at neighboring private schools. Yet the cost for this education is dramatically less than at private schools, and significantly less than the pre-school tuition many families had paid. The quality of education offered at the Las Lomitas School District has often been compared to those at neighboring private schools. Yet the cost for this education is dramatically less than at private schools, and significantly less than the pre-school tuition many families had paid.
|Annual Tuition per student||Additional Donation Request per Student||Total|
|Las Lomitas/La Entrada||$0||$2,000||$2,000|
|Private Elementary School**||$21,578||$1,500||$22,578|
|Private Middle School***||$29,755||$3,000||$32,005|
*Composite of Bing, Littlest Angels, and University Heights Montessori
**Composite of Peninsula, Phillips Brooks School, Saint Josephs
***Composite of Menlo School, Peninsula, Saint Josephs, Woodside Priory
8. What is the difference between the La Entrada and Las Lomitas PTAs and The Las Lomitas Education Foundation (The Foundation)?
|Las Lomitas Education Foundation||PTA|
The Foundation collaborates with parents, teachers and community members to raise money for the school district budget for small class sizes and enhanced curriculum.
The PTA collaborates with teachers and school administration to sponsor, fund and staff over 30 enrichment activities.
Small Class Sizes
|School Enrichment, some examples:
How we raise the money: