FAQs – SCEF

How are decisions made on what is funded?

The San Carlos Education Foundation gifts funds to the San Carlos School District each year based on the amount that we raise during the previous fiscal year. Funding goes towards programs that have been identified as priorities through conversations with the San Carlos School District, individual schools, PTAs, and parents. The SCEF Board makes recommendations to the District on what it would like to see funded each year based on these priorities, but the ultimate decision rests with the professional staff at the San Carlos School District and our school board trustees.

I am not sure where my SCEF donation goes? Can you explain how the funds raised are used?

During the 2013/14 school year, SCEF donations were used as follows ($ in 000):

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Can you explain how technology funding is distributed?

SCEF provides funds to purchase devices (iPads, Chromebooks, etc.) for students and to cover a portion of the cost of IT support staff software and infrastructure costs.

What are Principal Flex Funds?

Each school is given a Principal Flex Fund grant based on the student population. Working with his/her Site Council, each principal uses these funds to directly benefit the specific needs of that school. Last year, SCEF also provided funding to each school to help cover the majority of field trip expenses.

What is Fund-A-Need?

Fund-A-Need is a special campaign that is conducted by SCEF at all of our special events. Each year the district identifies a unique need or needs for the next school year, and we raise restricted gifts to fulfill this purpose. The funds raised are distributed to each school on a pro rata basis.

What is the Educator Innovation Fund?

Due to the generosity of the San Carlos community we created the educator innovation fund and encouraged educators to apply for innovation grants. To-date we have granted over $60,000 to directly support educator initiatives. These have included projects around literacy, science (including robotics, engineering, and physics), mathematics, social/emotional learning, and media.

Public school is supposed to be free, why do I have to pay?

You certainly do not have to pay for a public education. However, the alternative would be to settle for the state’s version of a bare-bones education, which many parents believe is sub-standard in today’s competitive environment. Years of chronic underfunding of public education, plus additional cuts due to the budget crisis in recent years, have decimated state funding levels for all school districts. Communities that care about creating and preserving high-quality, well-rounded education in their public schools have been forced to raise money locally to supplement the meager allocation from the state. The most successful school districts have robust Education Foundations and pass parcel taxes to provide a stable, long term revenue stream to bridge the gap between state funding and the high quality programs we want for all children.

Why does SCEF discourage schools from doing their own fundraising?

While it is true that SCEF is based on the model of district-wide fundraising to ensure that all San Carlos schools are strong, we actively support the PTA and CLC-FA and PRT’s efforts to build strong school communities. Through movie nights, fun runs, walk-a-jogs, carnivals and chili cook offs, each school has a unique culture and community and we in no way seek to discourage those activities. Additionally, SCEF produces the Spring Gala and Evening at TOWN events each year and sells tickets to a number of smaller parent events throughout the year hosted by the various schools.

Our experience has proven that District-wide fundraising lifts all boats. We are raising more together than we did apart. San Carlos is a very rare school district that can say that there is equity among the schools, and that all our schools are very strong.

Why are both SCEF and the PTAs raising money for the schools? Do I have to give to both?

Both SCEF and the PTAs play an integral role in supporting our schools. SCEF raises money to fund core programs such as:

  • Onsite Libraries staffed by professional librarians
  • Elementary PE Instruction,
  • Middle School Athletics
  • Elementary Music Instruction,
  • Middle School Band and Orchestra,
  • Literacy Associates,
  • Hands-On Science Program,
  • Elementary School Technology Associates, and
  • Elementary School Friendship Counselors.

We raise money across the entire district for two important reasons:

  • Centralized fundraising ensures that all schools in the district have the resources to provide comparable educational programming no matter their fundraising capacity, which strengthens our district as a whole.
  • District-managed staffing results in higher-quality programs at a lower overall cost.

PTAs raise money for events and materials that are site-specific, including teacher mini-grants, assemblies, field trips, PE equipment, library books and computers. We strongly encourage you to support both SCEF and your PTA to keep our San Carlos schools strong.

I’m not really in a position to give the suggested donation. What do I do?

We understand that not everyone is able to give the suggested donation amount. A gift of any amount, that is meaningful to your family, is greatly appreciated and will help tremendously. What is most important is that each family make a donation that works with your family budget.

Who are the SCEF Board and its volunteers?

The SCEF Board of Directors is made up of volunteers just like you. Most Board members are parents of children in the San Carlos School District, but Board members also come from the general community as well. All are welcome! All eight public schools are represented on our Board of Directors. Board members bring to SCEF their wealth of professional and personal experience in a number of areas: finance, marketing, technology, event planning, strategic planning, etc. In addition to the Board of Directors, there are hundreds of SCEF volunteers who give their time for projects both large and small. We have everything ranging from one-time volunteers who stuff envelopes for an hour, to parents who spend months planning our signature events, and everything in between! For volunteer opportunities, please visit http://scefkids.org/volunteer-opportunities/

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