I hope you enjoyed our initial Happenings Under the Tree newsletter. We received great feedback and plan to continue sharing exciting San Ramon Valley Education Foundation news with you periodically.
As you receive this newsletter, our schools are wrapping up the 2020-2021 school year. This year will probably end up as one of the most challenging and difficult years in history. I’m sure everybody will be glad to see this year end. I know I will.
Every year SRVEF and our School Affiliates nominate a Shining Star. Our Shining Stars are worthy of praise for their significant contributions to their school communities during the current academic year... and beyond!
This year, SRVEF would also like to recognize the entire education community. Our students, teachers, school staff, district leadership, and families have all worked tirelessly to adjust to the pandemic. You have all figured out how to make the best of online learning and as the rules changed, you changed with it. Flexibility is a word I know you have grown tired of hearing. Congratulations to each one of you. You are all Stars.
Our School Ed Funds have all changed these past 18 months. Their ability to raise funds in the usual manner has changed. How? Each of them typically holds various fundraising activities throughout the year that involve in-person events such as galas, live auctions, festivals, fun-runs, etc. All of these have been changed and/or cancelled. Our schools and our students rely on the funds that our Ed Funds raise. Our school affiliates have demonstrated amazing creativity in making up for lost revenue this past year. Some events were turned into virtual ones. Others were postponed or replaced with new events. None of our schools gave up – that just isn’t an option when our students’ education is at risk!
Parent donations from our Ed Funds contribute significant support to our individual schools and school district each year – many millions of dollars each school year. This money is not under the control of the State – it is managed locally by school administration in collaboration with the parent Ed Funds. This ‘hyper-local funding’ supplements state provided funding and is used to finance such items as technology, teacher grants, reduction of class sizes, school music and library programs, and other programs not currently funded by the State. And even if you do not have children in school, we all benefit from having a high quality, top rated school district.
You may have heard that the State of California’s budget is in great shape – such great shape that it is investing in many programs – including our schools. Although the San Ramon Valley schools will receive a one-time infusion of cash from the State’s budget windfall, it is important to note that this budget surplus is not expected to last. It is a temporary surplus. That means that parent donations – whether it is to your local school via annual fundraising campaigns or to the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation through the Friends of the Foundation or The Run for Education are as important as ever.
Lastly, I want to make a pitch for becoming educated on how school financing works. As we all know, school financing is a complicated subject. Greg Medici, SRVUSD Chief Business Officer, has created a YouTube channel to help explain this topic. Through a series of short videos, Greg will help you better understand how school finances work and why parent donations make such an important difference in education in the valley. You can find them here.
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On behalf of the Staff and Board of Directors of the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation, I wish you a safe and enjoyable summer.