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About Us and History

 

Founded in 1983 by concerned parents and community leaders of the South Bay, The El Segundo Education Foundation has the sole purpose to narrow the widening gap between state funds we require to maintain excellence in our schools and those our state provides.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 12.13.26 PMThis is an issue that affects our entire community because when our school district is fully-funded and our schools perform well, people want to live here.  This in turn elevates our property values as well as brings support to our local businesses.

Ed!’s goal is to unite businesses, corporations and residents throughout our community to provide sustainable and consistent funding directly to the public schools of the El Segundo Unified School District.

The gap keeps growing.
Our district’s funding from the State of California has been steadily declining since 2007, an average of $4.5 million dollars annually.  These budget cuts are alarming and cement our position at the bottom of the national ranking for per-student spending.

The domino effect.
These continual budget cuts have forced us to a point of crisis.  A loss of $5 million+ next year could mean there will be fewer teachers and counselors so we must be prepared for increased class sizes at every level and the reduction of counseling programs at the middle and high school levels. If the cuts are deeper, additional furlough days or weeks will be added to make ends meet. This equates to less individualized attention for our children and compromised academic performance.

What is our solution?
It’s about fundraising, which isn’t a new concept in our public schools.  PTA has been hugely successful in maintaining our classrooms and schools.  But money they raise cannot help the gap in funding required per student for a quality education.  It will not save credentialed teachers, counselors and academic programs.  That’s where Ed! comes in.  We raise funds to help save programs needed to ensure our students’ academic success.

We need you.  And you.  And you!
There is no superhero or knight in shining armor.  It’s just us.  We must come together to protect the quality of our public schools so that we continue to be a desirable and flourishing community.  We need each of you to educate yourself on public school funding, to understand the correlation between a high-performing school district and the well-being of our community and, most importantly, to commit yourself to our students, schools and mission.

 

School Funding

 

Prior to 1978 and Prop 13, school districts were largely dependent upon property taxes, which furnished about 2/3 of public education revenues.  Around the same time Prop 13 became law, the Serrano vs. Priest lawsuit challenged the fairness of the funding inequities that resulted from widely disparate property values and tax bases. The combined effect of Prop 13 and Serrano was to shift public school support from local property taxes to State general funds, thereby shifting the control from local authority to the State. Consequently, the State determines how much money we’ll get each year for each student enrolled.

In addition to lacking local control over tax revenue, our state has limited sources of revenue for schools. The passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 reduced revenue available for education funding. Since then, most of the revenue for school funding no longer comes from property taxes. Instead, it comes from business and personal income taxes, sales taxes, and some special taxes—all of which fluctuate.

Because of that fluctuation, school funding is especially difficult.

Each year the State legislature determines how much money each school district will receive as a base amount for each student enrolled. Additional funds are typically granted to districts in the form of Categorical Spending, or funds designated for specific programs tied to district demographic factors, socioeconomic or otherwise.  You can learn more about California school funding at www.californiaschoolfinance.org.

California has fallen in per pupil funding to rank 49th amongst the 50 states, and might actually end up in last place over the next few years! The most considerate States spend as much as three times more.

Although the District’s operating costs rise each year (even before addressing staff salaries), the State does not always implement a cost of living adjustment to that per student base amount. So when costs such as utilities or health benefits rise, the District has to find the money to fund the increased costs.

Since most of the District budget is salary, the only way to balance the ESUSD budget is to raise funds from other sources or to eliminate positions. Thus, the District cannot depend on the State alone to fully fund its budget.  PTA can pay for things (e.g. smart boards, supplies, tablets) while Education Foundations fund money to start programs (e.g. Counselors, CGI (Common Core Math) ) which essentially add to the district’s general fund. The Foundation works collectively with district leaders, school principals, and the Board of Education to come up with funding priorities. We focus on trying to make an impact on all the students in the district. Together, we can make a comprehensive difference and narrow the w-i-d-e-n-i-n-g gap created by the State!

Some uncomfortable truths:

  • Since 2008, ESUSD’s budget has been cut on average just under $4 million annually.
  • That adds up to almost $20,000,000 fewer dollars to ESUSD in just 5 years

Diminished government support for public education in America has forced communities to form education foundations to raise funds to support the public schools in their cities.  Several of these organizations can be found in neighboring communities who have built thriving education foundations over the past 30 years.  We encourage you to visit their websites to see how compelling and successful these foundations have become – all directly supporting their districts and protecting the reputation of their communities as a destination for excellence in public education: Palos VerdesSanta Monica/Malibu, Redondo Beach, Torrance  and Manhattan Beach…just to name a few.

While free public education is possible, you get what you pay for. We at the El Segundo Ed! Foundation want a GREAT public education for our ESUSD students, and that, unfortunately, is not free.