MY CHILDREN ARE LEARNING FROM HOME DUE TO COVID-19. DO I STILL NEED TO CONTRIBUTE?
LGEF and our Home & School Clubs have fixed costs that don’t change, even in these unique times of distance learning. This year, some schools are lowering their H&SC contribution request because we understand these are unique and difficult times for everyone. The district, the LGEF, and the H&SCs are all dipping into reserves this unprecedented year. LGEF funds the salaries of our elective teachers, who will be working extra hard to connect with your children at home. The H&SCs may not spend as much on printer ink this fall, but they will be spending distance learning improvements such as professional development & training, Smart Music software and Mystery Science. We all need to get creative during these unique times, and that takes funding, so we appreciate your support.
WHY DO WE NEED TO CONTRIBUTE WHEN OUR PROPERTY TAXES SUPPORT OUR SCHOOLS?
Before Prop 13, districts could count on tax income to meet their funding needs. In 1978, California school budgets were upwards of $9 billion. Prop 13 passed in 1979 and those school budgets were slashed overnight, by nearly 60%. California now ranks 41st in state funding per student (adjusted for cost per living).
Districts like ours are called “Basic Aid” which means we get very little funding from the state. Basic Aid districts are left raising money through community-funded means: local property taxes, parcel taxes, and parent contributions. The Los Gatos Union School District is a community-funded district and, because of Prop 13, we must make up a good portion of our budget through parcel taxes and parent contributions.
In response to all of this, parents in our community created the Los Gatos Education Foundation (LGEF) and the Home & School Clubs (H&SCs) to restore the quality in our local schools. Los Gatos schools lag behind comparable districts in our state by ~20% for per student funding. The combination of property taxes, a parcel tax and contributions to both the LGEF and the H&SCs are crucial to provide what is needed to educate our students.
WHY COMBINE THE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGNS?
Currently, Los Gatos K-8 schools are supported by 7 separate fundraising entities: Blossom Hill H&SC, Van Meter H&SC, Daves Avenue H&SC, Lexington H&SC, Fisher H&SC, the LGEF and Music Boosters. These organizations are all vital for the health of our schools. Utilizing a centralized approach to our fall campaign makes us all more efficient and makes use of scale. More importantly, it is simpler for you, our families, to contribute. Now, you can make one payment for all your children and associated school(s). Your contribution is then allocated directly to the teachers, staff, and programs at your school(s). This is not a general fund dividing up equally across all schools.
Several successful school districts in California including Palo Alto, Piedmont, Menlo Park, Orinda and more are utilizing a centralized model to fundraising. By making fundraising more consolidated, streamlined and consistent, One Community LG believes it can raise more money for our schools and take advantage of efficiencies that occur when entities work together towards a common goal.
how is my contribution distributed?
Your money still goes where it always has: directly to your school. One Community takes your student information and ensures your contribution is distributed to your Home & School Club, LGEF, and Music Boosters (for Fisher music students). Visit this page to view the breakdown.
WILL THE H&SCS AND MUSIC BOOSTERS STILL HAVE FUNDRAISING AUCTIONS AND EVENTS?
Yes, the H&SCs and Music Boosters will hold events like they have in the past; and those proceeds will go straight to the individual schools. We are simply combining the fall campaigns for LGEF, H&SCs, and Music Boosters into one single campaign.
Of course, in this unprecedented year with the COVID-19 pandemic, auctions and other events may not be possible.
HOW DOES THIS CHANGE HOW MY H&SC IS RUN OR WHAT IT FUNDS?
It doesn't! The One Community LG Campaign does not change how the H&SCs, Music Boosters or the LGEF are run, what they fund, or their organization, leadership, or mission. The only change is how donations are received during the fall campaign. Donations are then allocated to their respective schools and spent just like previous years. Each school and organization has its own personality and funding priorities. Those priorities will continue uninterrupted.
WHAT IS THE LOS GATOS EDUCATION FOUNDATION?
The LGEF is a parent-led non-profit organization that, for the past 37 years, has been raising critical funds to support quality education at the five public schools of the Los Gatos School District: Louis Van Meter, Daves, Blossom Hill, Lexington and RJ Fisher. For the 2019/2020 school year, the LGEF granted $940,000 to the school district to allow the district to fund counselors, teachers, and school specialists for art, math, and library personnel. Since 1982, the LGEF has provided over $10 million to the LGUSD from parent and community contributions.
WHAT IS A HOME & SCHOOL CLUB (H&SC)?
Each school in the district has its own H&SC. They are non-profit volunteer organizations (similar to a PTA) that provide services and materials that enrich our students’ education and support our vibrant community of parents, children, teachers and staff. We all come together to work on programs that benefit your child’s experience at your school.
Not all H&SCs spend money in the same way. Some differences include: a STEAM program and professional development at Blossom Hill; collaboration labs, positive play programs and field trips at Daves; student curriculum, professional development and a STEAM lab at Van Meter; teacher support and the International Baccalaureate program at Lexington: and library books, magazines, and support material, such as science lab kits, at Fisher. H&SCs provide human and capital reinforcements to help our schools' teachers and staff focus on educating our children and enriching their learning experience.
WHAT IS MUSIC BOOSTERS?
The purpose of the Los Gatos Music Boosters is to promote and support excellence in the music programs of the district and to encourage our children to continue with music throughout their school years. All elementary school students receive music instruction through 5th grade, therefore the H&SCs at the elementary schools will be funding the program through your contributions. Music is optional at Fisher Middle School, with over 40% of Fisher students participating, therefore you can choose to contribute or not. The LGUSD music programs are a draw for the greater Los Gatos community because they enrich our students' lives in many ways.
WAS ONE COMMUNITY LG CREATED BECAUSE OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS?
No. The One Community LG Campaign was conceived long ago. All 5 H&SCs, the LGEF, and Music Boosters have been planning and implementing this campaign since the new year. Although the COVID-19 crisis did not bring us to this point, we have found that working together as one community has brought these entities closer together to guarantee the best educational experience of all LGUSD students. We recognize that COVID-19 may have an impact on our fundraising efforts and this is why, more than ever, we need your full participation and support!
CAN I DONATE ONLY TO MY HOME & SCHOOL CLUB, Music boosters, OR LGEF?
To provide the best experience possible for your child, it takes a village. Your child's education is enriched by staff funded by LGEF. Your child's school experience is enriched by the activities and supplies that a Home and School Club provide. Both organizations need to be funded to provide the whole package, so our hope is that you support them all.
If you desire to give extra to a particular organization, you can arrange it directly with that entity.
There are many existing programs which allow families to support our schools, in some cases for free! Amazon, escrip, Nob Hill, and PayPal are just a few entities that have agreements with our Home & School Clubs and Music Boosters. Contributions via these methods will continue to go directly to your chosen entity.