Let me start off by saying welcome back to another school year here in South Pasadena. Like me, I’m sure a lot of you are here because of the schools. They’re the reason why we tolerate the Fremont Avenue traffic jams, the parrots dumping seeds on our cars and the fact that Domino’s does not deliver.
South Pasadena’s schools have long been the apple of the city’s eye. For decades the city and its residents have made schools a priority, which is one of the reasons why our town is ranked among the most livable cities in California. That distinction, however, doesn’t come without some work.
I head an organization that was born in response to a threat. Whatever you may think of Proposition 13, the crater it left in the state’s education funding posed a clear and present danger to the quality of life here in South Pasadena. A group of residents organized and the South Pasadena Educational Foundation was born. In the three decades since its founding, SPEF has given more than $8 million to the schools. While we would love to be put out of business, Sacramento continues to keep us busy.
State funding for our schools remains problematic and while Sacramento has increased the eduction budget, little of the added money will be coming here. That leaves SPEF, the PTA’s, the D.U.D.E.S and Boosters to make up the difference.
Last year, with your amazing support, we raised $732,000 for the district. We founded a student wellness program, installed new lighting in the middle school auditorium, made grants to teachers for unique programs and classroom experiences and even helped repair the high school’s bleachers.
This year, we at SPEF have a lot of things in the works that will help our schools maintain their elite status. Yet, that all depends on your support. Our fundraising campaign officially kicked off a month ago. I’m sure many of you received our brochure in the mail. Many also got some information on SPEF in the registration packets sent out by the schools. Those are part of our first and most critical fundraising effort, the Fall Campaign. Last year, the people of South Pasadena donated more than $124,000 during this first fundraising drive and this year we’d love to top it.
The Fall Campaign will conclude this year with our annual Fall Fund Drive. Beginning Monday September 26 and running through Thursday, the 29th, SPEF board members and dozens of volunteers will be calling thousands of neighbors to see if the schools can again count on their support. We all hope you’ll be available to take the call. If nothing else, at least let us say thanks for being part of a community that cares so much about its schools.
So again, welcome back to another school year. We at SPEF are hoping that we can work with everyone in this city to make this one of the most successful yet.