Letter to the Editor | PEF and the Giving Campaign are Essential

 In It's Time To Give: Letters to the Editor

When Proposition 13 passed in 1978, California’s K-12 public schools lost $3 billion in funding overnight.  

In recent years, the California Budget and Policy Center found that California ranked: 

  • 41st in K-12 spending per student, adjusted for cost of living;
  • Last in the number of K-12 students per teacher;
  • Last in the number of K-12 students per guidance counselor; and
  • Last in the number of K-12 students per librarian.

Proposition 15 on November’s ballot would have raised an estimated $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion annually in revenues for the State’s K-12 schools and community colleges, counties, cities, and special districts. Proposition 15 failed to pass. 

For the 2021-2022 school year, despite state and local funding including revenue from Measures G&H, the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) will have a shortfall of $1,930 per student.

If the Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF) did not exist, this would be the unfortunate financial reality for our schools and our students. 

Thankfully, for the last 45 years PEF has raised money from our generous community to help bridge the gap between state and local funding and what it costs to provide an excellent education to our students. The result: PUSD has been able to lower class sizes; insure crucial classroom aides and student support; offer AP courses, art, music, science and other vital curriculum to our students; and altogether have the resources to keep Piedmont schools as some of the highest rated in the State. 

Regardless of the administration of PUSD, changes in approaches to K-12 education, fluctuations in student enrollment, economic recessions — and even a global pandemic — PEF remains steadfast in its mission. We are nonpartisan. We are focused. Our only mission is to fundraise and foster community engagement in support of our schools. 

Please, separate any perspectives on how PUSD is navigating in-person or distance learning from the purpose of PEF’s Giving Campaign. The financial outlook for K-12 public schools in California has not changed under the COVID-19 pandemic. Some argue that without intervention, it will become worse. Withholding a Giving Campaign contribution today only sets the district back in its capacity to provide the highest level of education to our students during the next school year. 

Instead, let’s step up to support our schools and give them the resources they need to be ready for our students next fall, arguably after one of the most challenging academic years they will experience. 

— Emily Harrold, Beach Elementary parent and PEF Board Member