Foundation raises more than $700K

Goal is to keep school district’s ESC intact

The Del Mar Schools Education Foundation was scheduled to present a check to the district for $726,000 on Feb. 17 (after press time for this newspaper) and planned to ask the school board to approve a new fundraising campaign with an April 30 deadline.

The foundation had set a fundraising deadline of Feb. 15 and a goal of $2 million to keep the district’s Extended Studies Curriculum operating at its current level. ESC provides specialized teachers in art, music, science, technology and physical education.

Foundation President Chris Stevenson said they could’ve asked for an extension before the Feb. 17 meeting, but they were trying to encourage parents to give earlier in the year.

“We don’t want to use pink slips as a mode of fundraising,” Stevenson said. “We want to get out of crisis fundraising mode and into planned giving.”

The district board likely will have made a decision on whether to allow the second fundraising campaign after this paper’s press time.

Donations are still rolling in and some funds that were contributed before the Feb. 15 deadline weren’t included in the Feb. 17 check, Stevenson said. She added that the foundation has probably raised close to $810,000, and several school PTA’s have jog-a-thon fundraising events scheduled, including Ashley Falls, Del Mar Heights and Sycamore Ridge.

“Even in a challenging year the community has done a great job of pulling together funds earlier,” said Stevenson, noting that donations are up 60 percent from the same time last year.

The district is obligated to notify teachers of their potential release by March 15. Those pink slips can then be rescinded as the funds come in.

If fundraising comes up short, the district will use a formula for trimming ESC it approved at the Feb. 10 meeting.

Kindergarten through third grades would have science and technology taught by a specialist once a week. Each school site will have to decide whether to have a music or art specialist once a week. A classroom teacher would teach PE for those students.

In grades 4 through 6, principals will have the option of choosing a specialist for their site in either art, music or PE for twice-a-week instruction. Science and technology will continue to be taught by a specialist once a week. A classroom teacher will teach PE unless the school selects to keep a PE teacher over an art or music teacher.