Category: Schools & Education

Eureka Schools Foundation is more important than ever for Roseville and Granite Bay Public Schools

Mary Pizzimenti 25/07/2013

Granite Bay and Roseville are two Placer County communities that go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to education. Simply take a look at the work of the Eureka Schools Foundation (ESF) to find evidence of that dedication. For 21 years now the Eureka Schools Foundation, a non-profit foundation funded by donations from local businesses and private individuals, has been helping to enrich the lives of students and teachers in the Eureka Union School District (EUSD) by providing for additional programs not funded by the State’s budget.

Eureka Schools Foundation event raise money for Eureka Union School District

Each year the Eureka Schools Foundation raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for EUSD through a number of community-based fundraising events.  These events include an online and live auction, a student art auction, pledge drive, golf tournament, and the annual 5k/10k run. Local businesses and individuals are presented with various ways to help give to the organization and get involved with the community.

You might think that communities like Granite Bay or Roseville should have no problem funding their public schools due to a healthy property tax base. However, since before ESF’s inception, California’s outdated school budgeting program has left many districts far short of what they need to succeed; EUSD is one of those districts. In July Governor Jerry Brown signed the most sweeping (and controversial) change to California’s public school budgeting formula since 1972. The newly-created Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is intended to provide a more equitable funding model and to effectively pay back the deficit created by years of deferred payments. The formula replaces revenue limits with base grants per pupil, plus supplemental funding provided via percentage “weights” for students who are English learners, from low-income families, or in foster care.  

Under the previous Revenue Limit budgeting system, established in 1972, the demographics and property tax base of the Eureka Union School District resulted in a yearly budget that fell far short of the needs of its students. Additionally, after years of insufficient funding and deferred payments, whereby the State re-allocated money belonging to California public schools to other government programs, EUSD and every other district in California found itself receiving less than 80% of the monies it was owed each year. In 2012 the amount of the deficit created by these deferrals was $10.4 Billion statewide. This deficit is what the LCFF is aimed at reconciling over its initial 8 year period. While this is an appropriate objective, the manner in which the LCFF model proposes to pay back the money the State had been deferring, means that many districts are likely to find their budgets varying greatly from year to year. There will also be wide variance in the funding levels between districts, as the LCFF is based on population demographics and not size or academic performance.

What does this mean for the Eureka Union School District? “The unpredictability of the LCFF budgeting model over the next 8 years means the Eureka Schools Foundation is more important than ever in maintaining the excellent educational standards that EUSD has established,” says Melody Glaspey, Chief Business Officer with EUSD, “Each year the Eureka Schools Foundation is there to fill in the gap created by the State’s public school funding.” Indeed every district should strive to achieve such high standards but without proper funding it is impossible to provide the programs and support that students need to thrive.

Eureka Schools Foundation record donation to the Eureka Union School District in 2012

ESF has always been there to fill in the gap, funding many essential programs and services like library and technology staff, music programs, before and after-school Spanish language instruction, and after-school athletics coaches. Indeed the students of the EUSD see many of the same advantages of private school in a public school setting. In 2012 the record $669,000 donation made by ESF to the district prevented the School Board from having to lay off librarians while a nearby district was forced to let go of 24 teachers. In June ESF announced that they would be donating $301,000 to the Eureka Union School District for the 2013-14 school year.

ESF doesn’t just provide grants to educate and enrich the students of the EUSD. ESF’s Summer Institute program provides advanced summer instruction to EUSD teachers in “21st century teaching practices”. These courses are designed to inform teachers about new technology and new developments in classroom education, helping to enrich teachers’ knowledge and experience as well as the students’. “Our aim is to keep teachers sharp and motivated so they can create a positive educational environment for EUSD students,” says Mark Goozen, President of ESF. “This dedication is reflected in the high test scores seen throughout our district.” The schools in the Eureka Union School District are consistently ranked among the best schools in Placer County and the State of California.

The Eureka Schools Foundation strives for transparency by publishing a list of all the programs funded by ESF grants each year and cost of those programs. The funding grants for the five school years can be viewed on their website.

What the final verdict will be on the new LCFF model is unsure. What is clear though is that even with this new funding model the budget gap faced by the Eureka Union School District isn’t going away in the foreseeable future. Thankfully the community members of Roseville and Granite Bay place a great deal of value on education and they aren’t afraid to put their money where their mouth is.

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49 Placer County Schools Receive Honor Roll Distinction

Mary Pizzimenti 25/06/2013

49 Placer County public schools were included in the California Business for Education Excellence (CBEE) 2012 Honor Roll list. This program awards schools showing a dedication to more than just their overall academic achievement. The CBEE wants to honor the schools that are “getting it right for all students,” says Greg Jones, CBEE Chairman. The award has its eye on the variance between a school’s highest achievers and its lowest. The smaller that gap is, the better the school is at helping all of its students succeed.

What’s the Goal of the CBEE and the Honor Roll distinction?

Beyond just recognizing the schools that are reaching the greatest number of their students the CBEE wants to use these schools as role models for schools that didn’t make the grade. “To ensure more of our schools succeed,” says Jones, “we must change the conversation from being about fixing failing schools to one that focuses on replicating the success of schools like those on the Honor Roll.”

Since the program started in 2005, the number of schools tapped for this honor has increased nearly 10 fold, from 261 schools to 2,108 schools in 2012. This means that, according to the CBEE, nearly 1900 California Public Schools have noticeably improved their academic performance amongst all their students in less than a decade.

News of Great Schools in Placer County is Nothing New

Granite Bay High School in Placer County

In the 8 years since the program began a number of Placer County public schools have consistently made the grade. Granite Bay High and Rocklin’s Valley View Elementary have been honored a total of 6 times, and Rocklin Academy in the Rocklin Unified School District has the distinction as the only Placer County school to receive the honor every year since the program’s inception.

Awards such as this are nothing new for many Placer County schools, particularly those in Roseville, Rocklin, and Granite Bay. These communities have shown a strong commitment to education. The Eureka Schools Foundation, a community driven organization that finds private donations to help fund the areas public schools, is an example of that commitment.

The 2012 Placer County Schools on the CBEE Honor Roll

School Name

School District

Antelope Meadows Elementary

Dry Creek Joint Elementary

Coyote Ridge Elementary

Dry Creek Joint Elementary

Heritage Oak Elementary

Dry Creek Joint Elementary

Quail Glen Elementary

Dry Creek Joint Elementary

Greenhills Elementary

Eureka Union

Maidu Elementary

Eureka Union

Oakhills Elementary

Eureka Union

Olympus Junior High

Eureka Union

Ridgeview Elementary

Eureka Union

Willma Cavitt Junior High

Eureka Union

Franklin Elementary

Loomis Union Elementary

Loomis Basin Charter

Loomis Union Elementary

Loomis Elementary

Loomis Union Elementary

Ophir Elementary

Loomis Union Elementary

Placer Elementary

Loomis Union Elementary

Newcastle Charter

Newcastle Elementary

Newcastle Elementary

Newcastle Elementary

Weimar Hills

Placer Hills Union Elementary

Colfax High

Placer Union High

Del Oro High

Placer Union High

Antelope Creek Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Breen Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Cobblestone Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Granite Oaks Middle

Rocklin Unified

Rock Creek Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Rocklin Academy

Rocklin Unified

Rocklin Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Rocklin High

Rocklin Unified

Ruhkala Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Sierra Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Spring View Middle

Rocklin Unified

Twin Oaks Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Valley View Elementary

Rocklin Unified

Whitney High

Rocklin Unified

Blue Oaks Elementary

Roseville City Elementary

Catheryn Gates Elementary

Roseville City Elementary

Crestmont Elementary

Roseville City Elementary

Diamond Creek Elementary

Roseville City Elementary

Junction Elementary

Roseville City Elementary

Robert C. Cooley Middle

Roseville City Elementary

Stoneridge Elementary

Roseville City Elementary

Thomas Jefferson Elementary

Roseville City Elementary

Warren T. Eich Intermediate

Roseville City Elementary

Antelope High

Roseville Joint Union High

Granite Bay High

Roseville Joint Union High

Woodcreek High

Roseville Joint Union High

Western Sierra Collegiate Academy

SBE – Western Sierra Collegiate Academy

Twelve Bridges Elementary

Western Placer Unified

Twelve Bridges Middle

Western Placer Unified

 

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