This week’s MPCSD School Board meeting had a full agenda, but one of the highlights was surely the presentation of a giant check—both in size and dollar amount—from smiling students. The kids delivered the check to the School Board and Superintendent Maurice Ghysels on behalf of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF).
The grant has become an important source of revenue for the District. Explained Superintendent Ghysels, “We are truly a community-funded district, relying on local sources to fund our schools, and the MPAEF grant is a crucial part of that equation. The MPAEF grant will make up more than 10% of the District’s operating budget next school year and makes it possible to provide the education our community expects for all of its children.”
Board President Terry Thygesen added, “Our students are the ones who benefit from our successful alliance with the MPAEF: The grant will enable us to maintain our commitment to employing highly qualified and inspired educators, retain comprehensive educational programs, and launch important new initiatives. In total, the grant will fully fund 24 teachers and certificated employees, as well as 4 and one-quarter classified employees.”
MPAEF Co-Presidents Clint Chao and Scott Hinshaw (shown with Ghysels and Thygesen) thanked everyone for their incredible efforts behind the record-setting check. “The grant would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our entire community—our families, volunteers, teachers, District and MPAEF staff, community members, and PTO partners. While we are proud of the record amount, which represents a $250,000 increase over last year’s $3.35 million grant, we are especially proud that 85% of our District families participated in the effort and donated to our schools through the MPAEF,” said Scott.
“Through the MPAEF grant we demonstrate that we can control our own destiny and provide our kids with the kind of education they deserve. The grant helps fund the best classroom teachers and specialists, as well as library, art, music, and teaching innovation grants. I’m honored to be a part of a District community that comes together to make this possible,” added Clint.
For more than 30 years the MPAEF has provided funding to the MPCSD, but the level has ramped up significantly in the last decade, with the MPAEF granting more than $22 million to the District in the last 10 years. MPAEF Executive Director Lynne Van Tilburg said, “My own children are a product of this District, and I know first-hand how dramatically public-school funding has changed. State and federal sources now account for less than $4% of our funding. We are so fortunate to live in a community that values public education and demonstrates this through their financial support. This holds true for local businesses and residents, as well as our wonderful District families.”
Photos by Laura Hamilton