PEF approves $2.47 million grant to PUSD

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PEF approves $2.47 million grant to PUSD

May 30, 2016 – At its May meeting, the Piedmont Education Foundation Board of Directors approved a grant of $2,474,233 for the 2016 – 2017 school year. The funding represents almost 8% of the District’s 2016-2017 budget, and provides direct support for 25 FTE (staff). The grant is the first of its kind to be allocated with monies raised entirely by the new PEF organization throughout this past year. By bringing new transparency and more stakeholders to the grant-making process, the donation represents a significant change from past practices.

New Grant-Making Process Introduced

The $2.47 million grant is the result of the work of the new PEF Grants Committee, which met throughout the year with Superintendent Randall Booker to clarify and discuss funding priorities. The 21-member Committee is comprised of PEF board members and at-large members of the parent and greater Piedmont community, with representatives from Parent Clubs and various support groups.

The grant is divided into two categories: Tier 1 for ongoing program, aka teachers ($2,083,480); and Tier 2 ($390,753) for instructional materials, professional and curriculum development, student support services, short-term pilot programs, K-12 Wellness programs, assemblies, field trips, and more.  Both Tier 1 and 2 funds will be allocated across all school sites and impact students K-12.

Tier 1 is the bulk of the grant, and will support the equivalent of 24 full-time staff in the form of class size reduction and counseling at all school sites, electives at the middle and high school, and classroom aides and math and science educators at the elementary schools.  New to the list of funding priorities this year is a certificated Art teacher for the three elementary schools.  See list of TIER 1 & 2 GRANTS here.

Funding Priorities

Funding priorities largely follow goals set forth by the Board of Education and by the LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan), the mandatory mechanism and source of state K-12 funding. This means the new PEF grant-making process must be aligned with Piedmont’s LCAP.  A feature of the new Grants Committee is the ability to invite a broader group to participate in the conversation about how much money is available and how it will be allocated.  Superintendent Booker, who thinks the new system is a welcome departure from past practices, says “it was difficult for stakeholders to have a shared conversation about needs and resources. And it was extremely complicated and time-consuming.”

Grants Committee Co-Chair Cory Smegal agrees that, even with some of the challenges of managing a larger committee and a brand new grant-making process, the new model brings more transparency. “If you’re a donor, it is easier to understand how your contribution supports program at all the school sites,” she says.

Opportunities for Collaboration


Because the process now allows for more collaboration with other school support groups, some initiatives can be jointly funded.  PEF is able to help PHS Boosters support a full-time athletic director for the high school. Advanced Learners Program Support (ALPS) and PEF are working together to support a “differentiation” coach, and CHIME and PEF to support choral aides (grades 4-12), just to name a few.

Says Booker, “I’m pleased that the grant-making was productive and collaborative.  Mostly I’m just incredibly grateful to PEF for work they do to engage parents and the community to support us.  This grant will fund 8% of our staff and programs that directly impact students — arts, electives, athletics, classroom aides — and our ability to keep class sizes small.  Thank you, everyone!”

PEF will present the $2.47 million check for the Tier 1 and 2 grants to the District at a September Board of Education meeting.



Photo Credits:  Jenn Fox; Jean Jarvis (Wellness); Amy Kelleher (AP Euro/Vienna); Julie Reichle (PHS Vault)