PPIE takes over elementary music fundraising as PSEE dissolves

Nonprofit considers endowment for fifth-grade music programs

In a move aimed at boosting support for music and art programs at local schools, the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE) has taken over fundraising efforts once spearheaded by the Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation (PSEE), which dissolved earlier this month.

The recent transition was partly triggered by "a feeling that PPIE could build on the success of PSEE to date and take it to the next level," PPIE executive director Steve McCoy-Thompson told the Weekly.

"I think they just felt like PPIE has a stronger network and has a stronger presence at school sites," McCoy-Thompson said, adding that "some of the (PSEE) board members had moved on, so the timing was right."

PPIE has assumed responsibility for raising money for elementary school music programs that were once the focus of PSEE, especially those geared towards students in fifth grade.

Fifth grade is a critical time for keeping students interested in playing music, according to former PSEE vice president Mark Aubel, largely because the friendships formed with other bandmates during that year makes them more likely to continue in the next year.

"Fifth grade band and strings really is the cornerstone for our nationally acclaimed music program," Aubel said in a statement. "We are excited to collaborate with PPIE in building this program for years to come."

Entering the PPIE fold with Aubel will be former PSEE board member Viji Manickam, whom McCoy-Thompson said will help make for a seamless changing of the guard. "She's a main figure in one of PSEE's primary fundraising activities, which is the Dandiya Dance in the fall," he said. "It's a big fun affair and so we'll actually have quite a bit of continuity with Viji since she's already on our board."

PPIE is also exploring "the possibility of creating a music endowment to support elementary music" that would help "refresh" and sustain the Denise Watkins Fund, a large donation that was made in 2011 to PSEE and subsequently turned over to Pleasanton Unified School District.

In addition, PPIE is also "going to resurrect a request of fifth-grade parents to make a donation to help cover the cost for the teachers" of those fifth-grade programs currently paid for by the Watkins Fund.

"We will continue to draw down from the Denise Watkins Fund but at a lower level so that we can extend the life of that fund" while also receiving financial support from PUSD, McCoy-Thompson added. The programs will also keep receiving help from other funds and events, like PSEE's annual spring concert, which will continue under the leadership of PPIE.

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13 people like this
Posted by PUSD parent
a resident of Birdland
on May 1, 2019 at 10:47 am

In 2009, due to budget cuts, PUSD cut off funding for the 5th grade band and strings program.

In 2019 - the economy is booming, property taxes are WAY up and thus PUSD now has a lot more revenue. In addition to a bond that is paying for capital improvement so regular operating money does not need to be routed to these projects. Therefore...

PUSD - RESTORE the funding for the 5th grade band program!!!

It's that straight forward. Otherwise - where is all of this extra money now going?

PPIE gets not a dollar from me until PUSD can show that they are spending our tax money wisely. And I used to donate over $1,000 during the recession. Now - there is zero excuse.

7 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 1, 2019 at 1:36 pm

PUSD just sent out a flyer for Youth and Young Adult Summer Enrichment 2019. It includes many overlapping programs with the City of Pleasanton. For example: Improv Wars (there are Improv classes through the Firehouse) and Chef In Training, Tri-Valley Bake Off! See web link below.

Can't PUSD focus it's time, energy and resources towards fixing the roofs on our schools or investing in current programs like 5ht grade band mentioned in this article?? Even though these classes cost money, it's a nominal fee and knowing PUSD's skill in administration, they probable loose money. Not to mention staff time to organize these classes. I'd like to see the revenue and cost statements for each of these classes.

What is PUSD thinking!! Focus on education, not cutesy summer classes in an area that already has TONS of camps through city and private ventures.

Total waste and misuse of tax payer money.

Web Link

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