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  • Why do our public schools rely on parent/community donation dollars?
    California now ranks 40th in per-student funding among US States, while ranking 10th in per capita tax revenue (adjusted for cost per living). Before Prop 13, school districts could count on tax income to meet their funding needs. In 1978, California school budgets were upwards of $9 billion. The following year - with the passage of Prop 13 - those budgets were slashed, nearly overnight, by close to 60%. In response, parent groups across California began to form education foundations to fill the funding gaps created by Prop 13. In 2001, parents in the Belmont-Redwood Shores community created SchoolForce, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Education Foundation, after a series of failed parcel taxes jeopardized the continuation of vital staffing and programs. Many families purchase their homes here in Belmont and Redwood Shores due to the strong neighborhood schools. In order to keep our schools strong, parent and community investment is needed. These dollars are used to supplement the district budget to hire, attract, and retain excellent teachers and staff for our children. Additionally, state dollars do not fund school counselors, 4th and 5th grade science teachers, music teachers, art teachers, or physical education coaches and more. SchoolForce represents 5% of our district's budget paying for these people and programs at all BRSSD schools. Learn more about what SchoolForce funds at BRSSD schools here. In addition, investment in culture and community at each our schools is not funded by state dollars. This is where our PTAs come into play, by helping to fund school supplies, community events, field trip admission fees, teacher classroom supplies and parent education. Visit your school's website to find out more about what your PTA funds.
  • I pay a lot in property taxes already. Doesn't that go toward my child’s education?
    Not entirely. Your property tax funds all public education, which includes the high school district, community colleges, and UC's as well as BRSSD. As a result, about half of those dollars make it to BRSSD. So for example, if you have a $1 million house, you would pay $10,000 in property tax, 40% of this goes to education so that is about $4,000 and about 50% of that goes to BRSSD, which is about $2,000 per household. Please note this is a simplification of a complicated funding structure.
  • Why don’t our taxes meet the minimum state guaranteed per-student funding level?
    The number of students in a school district is the driver. As enrollment decreases in BRSSD, the district will likely hit this minimum base level. This means that our local taxes equal the baseline funding from that state. In 2022, this amount was $9932 per student; local funding sources, including SchoolForce ($2.5M) and parcel tax ($3.5M), brought BRSSD funding levels to $12,276 per student. As a community we want more than the baseline for our students, and thus our community needs to contribute so our students have more.
  • Why is BRSSD near the bottom of funding in San Mateo County?
    Each year the state proposes a student funding formula. Districts are funded based upon the number of students times the base state amount. There are accelerators in the funding formula; these are students which qualify for free and reduced lunch, are in foster care, are homeless, or are English language learners. BRSSD has a relatively small number of these students (about 16%), thus leaving BRSSD close to the state baseline.
  • What is the Education Commitment Campaign (ECC)?
    In 2020, the PTAs and SchoolForce teamed up to create the Education Commitment Campaign (ECC) to simplify the process to support our schools. Rather than being asked to contribute to multiple organizations at various times, if you donate during the ECC time period (August 1 to October), a single donation will cover virtually all of your child’s educational needs. Your ECC donation can contribute to your PTA and SchoolForce, our education foundation. All of these support your child in getting the best education possible.
  • Why was the ECC created?
    The ECC was created to have donation dollars raised each year be most impactful on a student’s educational experience. PTAs and SchoolForce have collaborated to streamline fundraising efforts and allocate parent donations to best serve the educational needs of Belmont-Redwood Shores Schools students.
  • What is the suggested donation?
    The suggested ECC donation is $2,000 per child. An investment of $2,000 in your child's education covers your PTA and SchoolForce donation for the whole year. It can be a lot at once, so you can spread it out over the year with recurring payments. While $2,000 is the suggested donation, please give what you are comfortable with. Of the $2,000 suggested donation, the first $275 (or $250 at Ralston) and the rest goes to SchoolForce.
  • What do funds raised by the ECC support?
    Our schools – directly and with SchoolForce and PTA support – run dozens of critical programs, and you can support them both through the Education Commitment Campaign. Some examples include:
  • What is the difference between SchoolForce and the PTA?
    SchoolForce, (Belmont-Redwood Shores Public School Education Foundation) addresses all the critical district-wide staff and programs such as: school counselors, credentialed science, reading, and music teachers; in-class technology; art and physical education programs; professional development; teacher innovation grants; and social-emotional learning and support. Simply put, SchoolForce funds programs and people. The district-wide approach allows our schools to have staff that the state does not provide adequate funding to provide. BRSSD has a $43M year budget with SchoolForce representing $2.5M in 2022 or 5.6% of the annual budget and the financial need is growing every year. Of that $2.5M, over $1.8M was spent on salaries. Because SchoolForce pays for salaries, funds are raised in the year prior to ensure employment of these critical staff. Additionally, the cost of funding staff is significant and thus why SchoolForce’s suggested donation is greater. For more details on this spending, please check our SchoolForce’s Annual Reports. Please note that the district ask of SchoolForce to $2.5M, of which $1.8M funds salaries. PTA supports community and culture for each school site. Each site has its own unique assemblies, fun-filled family nights, beloved school social events, classroom supplies, as well as science and book fairs. PTAs create and cultivate the cozy culture of our neighborhood schools. PTAs raise funds in the current year to be spent in that school year. This is why early commitment of donations is important.
  • What is the time period for the ECC?
    The ECC campaign is effective from July 15 to October 31, 2023. PTAs are encouraged to spend their funds on experiences (field trip and assemblies) and supplies within the fiscal year in which they are raised. SchoolForce raises funds for personnel's salaries and educational programs for the following school year, so it has a longer window for fundraising and continues past the ECC period until it reaches the goal it has established with the District.
  • What about donations made after the ECC campaign period?
    All donations initiated by the donor after the ECC campaign period (from November 1st on) will go to SchoolForce.
  • How is my donation split between SchoolForce and the PTA?
    The first $275 (or $250 at Ralston) of every donation per child will go to that child’s school PTA and all the remainder will go to SchoolForce. See examples in the table below.
  • What does the PTA portion of the donation cover at my child's school?
    The $275 (or $250 at Ralston) per donation per child to the PTA covers the cost of field trip admission fees, assemblies, teacher classroom supplies, teacher appreciation activities, community-building events, special school-specific experiences, and supplements district funding for school supplies. Visit your child's school website via the links below to check out their PTA pages for more information: Central Cipriani Fox Nesbit Ralston Redwood Shores Sandpiper
  • If a family donates $525 and has students at two schools (e.g., an elementary school and Ralston), how would the entire donation be split across the two PTAs?
    $275 would be allocated to elementary school PTA and $250 would be allocated to the Ralston PTA and SchoolForce would get $0.
  • If a family donates $300 and has students in two schools, does each of the PTAs where the family has a student receive $150?"
    The donation would be split between the two schools evenly.
  • How does it work if I set up recurring payments?
    Recurring payments can be set up through the ECC giving portal. You can choose the amount to donate, frequency, and timing of donations, and you can make changes any time through your Kindful online account.
  • How does corporate matching get allocated?
    During the 2022-2023 ECC, over $545,000 was received in company matching. Please do secure company matching in all cases, it makes a huge impact in our schools. Find out if your employer matches.
  • What organization name should my matching funds be directed towards?
    SchoolForce acts as the fiscal agent for the Education Commitment Campaign, providing donation receipts for matching and tax purposes. SchoolForce’s legal name is the Belmont-Redwood Shores Public Schools Education Foundation; this is often the name that appears on the employer matching eligible organization list. Please do not use the school PTA name as SchoolForce is the entity of record for the donations. (Using the school PTA name for donations makes it harder for our PTA volunteers). Find out if your employer matches.
  • What if I want to meet the $2,000 by donating $1,000 and using my company match?
    For Elementary / K-9 Schools: The first $275 of parent donation and the first $275 of the company match go to the PTA and the remaining $725 of the parent donation and $725 of the company match go to SchoolForce. In this situation, rather than meeting the suggested donations ($275 to PTA/$1,750 to SchoolForce), the split would be $550 to PTA and $1,450 to SchoolForce. For Ralston: The first $250 of parent donation and the first $250 of the company match go to the PTA and the remaining $750 of the parent donation and $750 of the company match go to SchoolForce. In this situation, rather than meeting the suggested donations ($250 to PTA/$1,750 to SchoolForce), the split would be $500 to PTA and $1,500 to SchoolForce.
  • Are my contributions tax-deductible?
    Yes! Your donations to the Educational Commitment Campaign are tax-deductible because SchoolForce and all the PTAs are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. The tax ID is SchoolForce, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Public School Education Foundation: #91-2159650. Receipts for funds accepted by the ECC will use SchoolForce’s tax ID # since SchoolForce is the organization that is receiving and distributing the money to the PTAs.
  • Who do I make my check out to?
    Please make checks out to SchoolForce. Funds will then be distributed to the respective PTAs, including corporate matching. You can send them to P.O. Box 5196, Belmont, CA 94002.
  • How do I support Opening Doors, our district’s PTA for students with special needs?
    Donations to Opening Doors PTA are separate from the Education Commitment Campaign, but you will have the opportunity to make both donations at the same time if you contribute when you update your child’s information before the start of the school year. We encourage you to support Opening Doors as their mission is inclusion.
  • Why does SchoolForce still fundraise after October 31st?
    The school district is requesting $2.75 million from SchoolForce for the 2022/23 school year and these dollars are built into the district's multi-year budget as on-going salary commitments. While SchoolForce would love to reach its fundraising for the year in the fall, it is anticipated that SchoolForce will need longer to reach its $2.75 million goal. Please note that the prior fundraising agreements (pre-ECC) between the PTAs and SchoolForce had a fundraising calendar where the PTAs raised funds during August-October and SchoolForce raised funds in the balance of the year. Some long-term donors are still on this schedule to maximize their employer matching dollars.
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