Frequently Asked Questions
This Giving Campaign is the largest annual fundraiser for the Piedmont Unified School District. Run by Piedmont Education Foundation, it launches in September of each year to raise funds for the next school year. Next year, the difference between what PUSD receives from state and local taxes, and what it costs to educate Piedmont students, will be $4.3 million. The Giving Campaign seeks to raise over 55% of these needed funds. The remainder will come from other PEF fundraising efforts, Parents Club and Support Group donations, interest, and earned income.
While the parcel tax is essential and funds 27% of the cost to educate each student, net funding from the government is stagnant while the regular cost of doing business in the Bay Area continues to increase. PUSD runs on a tight budget, and will need to consider cutting the programming that sets us apart if the community can’t make up the difference.
Several years ago, the California government made the decision to fund the current unfunded pension liability for teachers and public employees (STRS & PERS) by billing California School Districts at increasing percentages. In 2014, that rate was 8.25% STRS and 11.44% PERS. This year that rate is 16.28% STRS and 18% PERS, and still growing. PUSD is now paying an additional $1,870,000 to fund California’s debt.
Each year a committee comprised of PEF board members, PUSD administration, and members of the community meets to determine this. Of this year’s grant, 50% is going toward keeping class sizes low and maintaining the breadth of elective and AP class choices. 42% is funding counselors, class aides, librarians, paraprofessionals, intervention instructors, art and music clinicians, and other specialists. 8% Is being spent on classroom supplies, professional development and curriculum development.
The Giving Campaign is an annual fundraiser to help fill the gap between government funding and local taxes and what is needed to educate our children. Our objective, however, is not just to plug our annual budget shortfall, but to increase our long-term investment in our schools so that we can continue to build extraordinary programs that encourage innovation, creativity and scholarship among our students. We strive to do this through an endowment fund that will provide PUSD with an annual payout from the fund.
California provides funding to public schools based on the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). This is an equation based on number an classification of students. Schools receive more funding for English language learners, foster children, and students on a reduced-cost lunch plan. Piedmont has fewer of these students so receives minimal additional funding.
We hope that you will choose to support both the Giving Campaign and your school’s Parents Club and support group. Giving to PEF through the Giving Campaign allows us to provide the district with funds where they will have the greatest impact. The district develops their budget to be in the best interest of all the schools. This includes district-wide initiatives, such as curriculum and professional development. Each school receives discretionary funds through the grant process, which is based on the number of students at each school. Giving directly to your school will not necessarily mean a net gain for that school as the overall distribution needs to be equitable. Your contribution to the Giving Campaign helps ensure that all Piedmont schools remain excellent throughout your child’s education.
Every district is different. But, here are some of the current asks:
San Marino: $2500/child, La Canada-Flintridge: $3000/family, Hillsborough: $2500/child, Lafayette: $1300/child and Palo Alto: $1000/child.