The following letter was submitted by former director of Community and Cultural Services for the city of Santa Monica, Barbara Stinchfield. Santa Monica Next welcomes guest contributions and editorials. We look for fact-based content relevant to the future of the city. Submitting your writing does not guarantee it will be published. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a long-time supporter of our local public schools, I have followed with great interest the recent successes of the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation. I urge all your readers to go on the Foundation’s website and view the extremely impressive list of community members and local businesses who have contributed financially to the Foundation this year, supporting critical educational initiatives that otherwise would not be funded.
You will see that these locally raised dollars support innovative performing arts programs and training for instructional aides in all District elementary schools. They fund grants to individual schools that reflect the uniqueness and address the needs of each school community. You will also see that all of the District’s 15 schools made contributions and four of our District schools (one in Malibu, and three in Santa Monica) are top contributors. What a heartening indication that the goal of District-wide fundraising is being met.
Having been involved in the early discussions that led to this centralized funding model, I would like to say a belated “bravo” to Superintendent Sandra Lyon who has provided the leadership needed to make this funding approach a reality. Because of the clarity of her vision along with the the fundraising efforts of the Ed Foundation, the proposed District Budget for 2015-16 achieves the goal of funding equity while providing innovative programs for all District students.
The Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation raised $2.3 million this year – four times the amount raised just two years ago! Kudos to the dedicated Foundation staff and the hundreds of community members who played a role in this extraordinary effort.