For those of you who don’t know us, the Los Gatos Education Foundation, or LGEF, is a 30-year-old organization that was founded by parents in response to the passage of proposition 13.
Over the years, LGEF has donated more than $10 million to the schools in the LGUSD – that’s Blossom Hill Elementary, Daves Avenue Elementary, Lexington Elementary, Van Meter Elementary, and Fisher Middle School.
With only parent volunteers and one part-time staff member, last year, LGEF raised almost $1.2 million for our schools! Thank you for your generosity!
In the past, LGEF has provided crucial funding to prevent teacher layoffs and retain programs like art, science and music. In Los Gatos, we’re lucky to have had the benefit of LGEF to maintain programs that other school districts have lost.
Increased Enrollment + Decreased Property Tax Revenues = Fewer Dollars Per Student
We’ve all heard the need for more funds for schools, but at LGEF we want to try to help quantify the situation. To understand our budget situation, you first need to understand how schools are funded in Los Gatos.
Los Gatos is a Basic Aid district. That means LGUSD receives all of its general purpose funding from local property taxes. The awful part is, we do NOT receive any extra dollars based upon the number of children enrolled. So, as enrollment increases, each student must be educated out of the same funds.
Enrollment in LGUSD has being going up and promises to keep increasing. With our current enrollment at about 3,200 and the district’s newest population projection studies showing that we’ll beat our 1973 enrollment record of 3,331 students next year, we are very worried!
In the last couple of years, property tax revenue has been shrinking due to the Great Recession, but is once again growing slowly (between 1 and 2 percent per year). However, this modest growth in revenue does not cover the costs of new enrollment as for every $1million in assessed value in property taxes, the District receives only $1200/year. Every year the District spends about $5700 per student in Basic Aid funds.
Clearly just to maintain the current level of education in Los Gatos it will take additional funds.
We Believe Good is the Enemy of Great
We, at LGEF, are NOT satisfied with just a good education for our children and our community. With all the resources of our town and our parent community, we think that education in Los Gatos has the potential to be great.
What do we mean by great? We mean the type of education that prepares our students for the 21st century. Meaning our district turns out student who are educated not just in reading, art, and music, but also excel at math, science, technology, and engineering. Our children will be competing with children world-wide and the curriculum must prepare our children for the jobs of the future. While we don’t know what those jobs will be, we do know that they will require fluency in math, science, technology, and likely a language besides English.
While we certainly work in close partnership with the LGUSD, we feel our role is not just to raise money for existing programs but to push for better curriculum and better resources for our children. If education is to improve in Los Gatos, going from good to great, we think community participation through LGEF will be the key factor.
If you’re interested in improving your child’s education and preparing children to succeed in the 21st century, we do want your help. Please fill out our survey. You can reach the survey by going to www.lgef.org and looking on the left hand side of the screen for the survey link. This will help us determine what types of programs to fund next year. We would also welcome your support at LGEF through volunteering (you can find our volunteer interests form on the top right hand side of our main page under “I want to help”) and of course donating.
With your support, we are looking forward to a terrific year and moving from good to GREAT!
—By LGEF presidents Barbara Rogan and Ingrid Oakley-Girvan