The reason is simple:
Without FEEF funding, many of the programs that enrich our children’s curriculum would not be possible.
For many of us coming into CUSD, the first thought that may jump to your mind is, "I just paid 1, 2 or 3 million dollars for my house, or a boatload in rent, there’s plenty of property taxes, CUSD is set!" Unfortunately that’s not the way public school funding works in CA. It turns out that our district, CUSD, is actually one of the lowest funded districts in the country and state, as well as Santa Clara County. If you’re thinking now you didn’t hear that correctly, you did. CUSD is one of the lowest funded school districts anywhere, ranked 481st in school funding out of 492 districts statewide last year.
This NPR story has made the rounds on Facebook and elsewhere in the education community, but if you haven’t seen it, look it up! It’s a great glimpse into school funding and really allows for a true apples to apples comparison of schools all over the state and the country. While I think it’s really important that we all take note of these numbers, I also want to reassure you - you did choose really well despite all this! CUSD has fantastic schools and a fantastic community to be a part of! Our district may be receiving significantly less money than even those right next door to us... but the story of CUSD is and always has been one of doing more with less. We may be funded like an inner city school district, but our educational outcomes for our learners continue to make us one of the most highly regarded districts in country.
State funding barely covers rising expenses and mandated programs. Without FEEF funding, many of the programs that enrich our children’s curriculum would not be possible. The Cupertino Union School District has been severely impacted by the state’s budget cuts. The programs funded by parent contributions are what will bridge the gap and keep our school performing at a level we are proud of and have come to expect.
The dilemma is that our dollars can only be stretched so far, so let’s take a look at the history of public school funding in CA, and figure out why parents like us have been coming together for decades now to fundraise for all the things that have been cut from so many of our public schools. And then let’s talk about if there is anything else to be done about it.
The presentation below was given by Lorien Cunningham, who is the SSC Chair at Montclaire Elementary school. It has speaker notes also, so do go through it in detail. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
On a side note, the lack of funding is not just in CUSD. It happens elsewhere across US and across the world also. Here are a couple of articles: