The city of Santa Monica made good on its promise this week to donate another quarter of a million dollars to the nonprofit education foundation that supports the .
The contribution represents the second half of the city’s $500,000 pledge to support the Education Foundation’s endowment for arts education.
Foundation leaders said Thursday that the donation will be used to help fund education arts, academic and athletic programs at all district schools. It will also fund the hiring of additional staff as the foundation prepares to take on many of the fundraising duties currently carried out by individual PTAs.
"While we are fundraising right now for our current slate of academic, art and athletic programs, we are also raising funds and building the infrastructure we'll need to fulfill our expanded role in the not too distant future," Linda Greenberg Gross, Executive Director of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, said in a statement. "The city of Santa Monica's donation gives us a terrific boost to help us get there."
A new fundraising model adopted in November by the district's Board of Education prohibits school PTAs from raising money to hire personnel and to support programs and services eliminated because of budget cuts. The nonprofit is being placed in charge of these efforts, and will also be the only entity that can collect corporate gifts in excess of $2,500.
Opponents of the new model have said it will reduce district fundraising overall because fewer people would want to contribute if the money were not going to their children's schools.
Superintendent Sandra Lyon said having the city of Santa Monica's generous support "is very significant" will help make centralized funding a reality.
The goal, she said, is to provide "equal access to educational opportunities for all our students."