As many local residents know, the local school board has had a rough time in recent years with statewide education budget cuts and the impact they have on Los Altos schools. Many programs have had to be eliminated or cut back and those that have remained, have done so primarily due to the generous support of the Los Altos Educational Foundation. LAEF has been an integral part of the overall education funding strategy of the school board for many years. The board would be unable to deliver the programs and staffing it does without the contributions from LAEF.
You need to know about this before the school year starts because you'll be asked to donate $1000 to LAEF at the beginning of the school year. This is done on a "per family" basis and more is always welcome. With hundreds of families at each school, you can see how the funds quickly build up to support ongoing programs.
For the current year, they intend to raise $2.35 million to keep class sizes low and bring back 40 teachers. Right now, it's an uphill battle to raise funds in a slow economy while keeping programs going instead of adding new ones. That's the shift from years past - money was used to add extras whereas now it's used primarily to keep things as they've been. The point is that as a parent, it's important on back-to-school night that you sign up to participate in LAEF.
Most of the schools have a sign-up process where you'll register to make contributions to the PTA and LAEF. When the opportunity arises, please make the contribution. Without LAEF, the class sizes would easily reach 30 or more and the high-ranking scores that Los Altos schools have gotten for many years will suffer. This means a lower quality education for your kids and, ironically, lower property values. Los Altos has always been a magnet for home buyers because of the quality schools. Supporting LAEF will ensure that continues.
During the year, you'll be asked to discuss items that LAEF can do for the school board. These surveys and discussions have an important impact on what LAEF will fund and how much the school board is able to deliver in terms of new programs, staff, or materials. It's important to participate in these discussions because the feedback can have a lasting impact on what is offered at each school. Keep in mind that LAEF funds are distributed evenly across the district and funds are granted to the school board each year so they can do what needs to be done.
Please support LAEF, the school board, and Los Altos schools. Every dollar makes a brighter future for the kids.