In a letter sent to parents last Friday -- signed by Superintendent John Casey, Excutive Director of PPIE (Pleasanton Partnerships in Education) Debi Covello and PTA Council President Joan Laursen -- the budget reductions were listed as "too severe" to maintain the current level of programs and services. Last year, the district cut $2 million, followed by $11 million in the current year and an estimated $8 million in the 2010-11 school year.
The fundraiser and list of supported programs were developed after parents and staff took a district-wide survey to show what programs they want to support most and how much they would be willing to give.
Families are being asked to contribute $150 per student, with funds going towards various programs at each level. The focus is on technology specialists and support, library assistants and student support programs that would vary by site.
The goal is to raise just under $1 million, with targets at $339,375 in elementary, $229,689 in middle and $325,000 in high schools. PUSD has also outlined where the money would go if the goals were not met.
The letter acknowledges the current financial support already given by the parents, in areas like athletics and music, in addition to contributing to individual school sites.
Parents speaking at budget workshop meetings in recent months were mostly supportive of a district-wide fundraiser, but several mentioned they already make similar or larger donations each year. Most of the speakers in favor mentioned replicating what is apparently done in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where almost mandatory parent donations occur during registration time.
Yet, with the fundraising and a parcel tax, SRVUSD's board of trustees recently voted to raise class sizes and layoff 136 employees to deal with a $30-million deficit over the next two years.
CORE is the second large education fundraiser in recent times, as the I Love Pleasanton Schools summer effort brought in $463,379 to save counselors, reading specialists, class-size reduction and music programs. The ILPS goal was more lofty than CORE, seeking to take in $2.8 million.
Those wishing to donate must do so by June 1. Checks can be made out to PPIE (Tax ID 94-3046738) and should be attached to a form, available at the district website www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us. These can be sent in by mail or dropped it off to PPIE, PUSD offices or a school site office. Online donations are also accepted via Pay Pal at www.ppie.org.
More information about the fundraising event, including a list of frequently asked questions, is available on the district's website.