As we lead into the Thanksgiving holiday and the season of giving thanks, I would like to express gratitude for the Piedmont community’s extraordinary support for public education. This community support takes several forms. It includes financial support, which has been critical for implementing new reading, math, and science curriculum, and enhancing or expanding a broad range of programs that directly benefit students. Community support includes thousands of volunteer service hours — working in the libraries, serving lunches, chaperoning field trips, driving teams to athletic events, and selling SCRIP, to name just a few. This support also includes the planning and execution of numerous, spirited events throughout the year that build community around the schools and help make Piedmont Unified truly unique.
The District’s total annual budget is roughly $37 million. About two-thirds of this total comes from allocations from the State and federal governments. The balance — nearly 37% of the total — comes from school parcel tax and contributions from the Piedmont community, including money raised by the Piedmont Education Foundation, the Giving Campaign, Dress Best for Less, SCRIP, and the parent clubs and school support organizations. This level of financial support is remarkable and vitally important to the District. This year alone, the Piedmont Education Foundation presented the District with a check for $2,634,000, including contributions of almost 1200 Piedmont Unified families as well as community members. This is remarkable generosity!
During the years of State cuts to education spending, this private funding stabilized the District’s budget and helped preserve programs that would have otherwise disappeared. Now that the State funding crisis is behind us, this private funding supports a wide range of initiatives that directly or indirectly benefit students, including:
- Specialized teachers including counselors, math and science specialists, art and music teachers, and librarians;
- Advanced Placement courses;
- purchase of chromebooks for the District’s Connected Learning programs;
- purchase and implementation of new elementary reading programs (Reader’s Workshop);
- after-school and summer study and enrichment programs;
- professional development for educators, which is the key to successful implementation of new educational technology, new elementary reading programs, Common Core Math, and the Next Generation Science Standards;
- development and implementation of teacher evaluation and mentoring programs; and
- purchase and implementation of a new District-wide data management system (Illuminate).
For all of this remarkable financial support, we are deeply grateful. But the Piedmont community’s support for public education goes beyond monetary contributions. This support includes countless hours of volunteer service in and around the schools that directly benefit students, as well as the planning and execution of many wonderful events that contribute to a strong sense of community around the schools. These events include:
- Wellness Center Fall Fest 5K
- Tri-School Harvest Festival
- PHS Boosters Highlander Classic Tournament
- PAAC Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
- Wildwood Dads’ Pumpkin Patch
- Piedmont Turkey Trot
- PADC MLK Celebration
- Havens Dads’ Poker Night
- PAAC Lunar New Year Celebration
- PADC Yoshi’s Night
- PMS March Mingle
- PAINTS Chalk Art Festival
- Beach Dads’ Pancake Breakfast
- Wildwood Dads’ Crab Feed
- Tri-School Spring Fling
- MHS Dinner & Auction
- PHS Bird Calling Contest
- PAINTS Birdhouse Gala
- Piedmont Makers Faire
- Tri-School Dads’ Softball Tournament
- Education Speaker Series
And that’s not all! The community-building events also include countless parent parties that spin off from Spring Fling, the MHS Dinner and Auction, and the March Mingle.
On behalf of the entire PUSD staff, I offer sincere thanks for all who plan, organize, execute and participate in these efforts to support public education in Piedmont.
Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and your families,
Randall Booker, Superintendent