Published May 25th, 2022
Lafayette School District board receives good news on school funding
By Jennifer Wake
The Lafayette School District governing board was met with some good news at its May 18 meeting, after hearing presentations from various departments about challenges they face involving declining enrollment and staffing shortages, the Lafayette Partners in Education donation figures and state budget revision, which will help schools across California, put smiles on governing board members' faces.
LPIE president Danielle Gallagher, during her presentation to the board, focused on the enormous community response for donations to the nonprofit this year, exceeding expectations with a whopping $4,787,361 projected to have been raised, $500,000 of that from their recent Gala alone. LPIE, which was established 42 years ago, is a fundraising juggernaut helmed by a 50-person volunteer board who work countless hours to support Lafayette elementary, middle and high school programs such as the arts, music and math, as well as technology, instructional aid, counseling and much more.
Governing board member Dave Smith was one of several board members to express their gratitude for LPIE. "A big thank you," Smith said about the ability of the nonprofit to rebound from the pandemic in such a significant way, adding, "LPIE is one of the largest community engagement partners."
"Coming out of the pandemic, our parents rallied," Gallagher said of the successful year. "Whatever we are able to raise goes to our schools and students," noting the phenomenal music and arts programs, and site specific instructional support at the elementary school level, as well as robotics, art, music mentors and wood tech at Stanley Middle School that LPIE supports.
LafSD Superintendent Richard Whitmore also spoke about Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent May revised budget, which according to a statement from the California Department of Education, "directs a total of $128.3 billion to education, lifts up the most critical needs including historic funding for school mental health, recruitment and retention of teachers, and literacy strategies necessary to allow students to heal and recover after two very challenging years." The revised budget includes $3.3 billion to combat statewide declining enrollment and stabilize school budgets, according to the DOE.
Whitmore said the extra money in state funds was generally good news, "but people are popping their champagne bottles a little too quickly," noting that the state senate and assembly will be making adjustments before the proposed budget goes to the governor's desk June 15, and is signed off by June 30. "But . not bad news," he added, stating, "We'll have another discussion with LPIE and how we put together an expenditure plan that uses these funds to their highest use."
The board will return to discuss the proposed budget at its June 14 and 15 meetings. The board typically adopts its 2022-23 budget in mid-June, and has 45 days to update the budget after the final state budget is approved.
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