Irvine Unified School District
IPSF works in collaboration with the Irvine Unified School District to ensure that the needs of our children are met by assigning funds and supporting programs that are no longer funded by the state. Specifically, IPSF grants funds to the district for the teaching professionals needed for staff enrichment programs in reading, math, science, technology and the arts — programs are no longer funded by the state. Because of our close relationship with IUSD, we are able to focus our efforts on the funding needs that will have the most impact on our students.
Formed in 1972, the Irvine Unified School District has evolved in response to an engaged public search for a vigorous, positive and forward-looking educational system. Irvine schools offer superior instruction at all levels with the widest possible choices for parents and students. The city and the school district have grown rapidly, as have the legislative requirements imposed by Sacramento and Washington, D.C. A highly distinguished and well-ranked district, the Irvine Unified School District has over 33,000 students in 38 schools; nearly 40 percent have a primary language other than English. IUSD schools have earned the label of California Distinguished School 50 times since 1986, and all four comprehensive high schools have been recognized at least once.
SCHOOL FUNDING BASICS
The passage of Prop 13 drastically reduced revenue available for education funding. Property tax revenue in Irvine (and most other cities in the state) is not adequate to fund education. Now, most of the revenue for school funding comes from business and personal income taxes, sales taxes, and some special taxes, rather than property taxes. These funds are centrally allocated from the state using the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The LCFF does not take into account property tax revenue at all; rather it is designed to redistribute state funding to provide MORE money to districts with high populations of English Language Learners and low-income students. Irvine has a much lower percentage of these students, so Irvine ranks at the very bottom in per pupil funding in the state. California’s per pupil funding ranks as one of the lowest in the United States, so Irvine Unified is also one of the lowest funded districts in the nation.
Although separate organizations, IPSF and Irvine Unified Council PTA share one common goal: ensuring excellence in our student’s education. These essential organizations work closely with IUSD throughout the year to achieve this goal. The PTA at your child’s school provides financial support for items at that particular school site, such as supplies, assemblies and field trips, while IPSF yields funds to our district for enriched curriculum and quality instruction at every IUSD school.
A registered 501(c) (3) charity, PTA is one of the oldest and largest child advocacy organizations in the United States. When you join PTA, you are joining at the unit (school) level, but you are also becoming a part of a national organization. PTA units are governed through by-laws which dictate how much fundraising may be done and how it may be achieved. For example, PTAs may not employ staff directly and the majority of funds raised must be spent in the year in which they are received, rather than longer-term or multi-year commitments. Additionally, IUSD’s school board has policies that govern donations and gifts to schools that PTA units must follow.
Also a 501 (c) 3 organization, IPSF operates with the sole purpose of providing support to all schools in the Irvine Unified School District. Through community contributions, corporate donations and other fundraising activities, IPSF makes substantial annual grants to IUSD that support district wide programs such as classroom support, fine arts, music, and science; grants to teachers in the classroom; summer enrichment programs and more.
IPSF also provides IUSD with funds for faculty and staff salaries. As an example, the district is able to staff a minimum level of nursing and health clerk support at each school site thanks to IPSF funding. Some PTAs supplement these funds for additional hours, but PTAs alone could not hire these important staff members. This requires IPSF investment.
Through our combined efforts, IPSF and PTA are enriching the educational experience of each child in every school. But we can’t do it without community support. Get involved this year with IPSF AND the PTA at your child’s school to make the biggest impact on our schools.
PTA = Great Stuff for Your School
PTA funds site-specific needs, such as equipment and supplies. For example, classroom and art materials, library books, computers and technology purchases, school equipment, enrichment programs, and limited staff support.
IPSF= Great Staff for Every School
IPSF’s annual grant to IUSD pays for staff expenses such as teacher salaries. For example, teachers, instructional assistants, music specialists, health clerks and nurses were funded in part by IPSF in 2016-2017.
PTA Programs = School Site Specific
Most PTA programs are focused at the school site. Examples include assemblies, playground activities, parent education, family nights, jog-a-thons, and book fairs.
IPSF Programs = District Wide
IPSF programs take place at schools throughout the district, insuring equal access for all students. Examples include Afterschool Classroom Enrichment (ACE), Summer Enrichment Academy, Instrument Rental, etc.
What IPSF Does:
- Aids in class size reduction by granting funds for staff expenses, such as salaries for instructional assistants, music specialists in K-3, high school athletic trainers, and a district wide nursing position
- Provides grants to teachers to implement innovative teaching methods and technology
- Works with corporate sponsors to help fund STEAM-related programs such as the IUSD Science Fair, Donald Bren Honors Concert and the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program
- Provides quality cost efficient programs such as Summer Enrichment Academy, Afterschool Classroom Enrichment (ACE), and Instrument Rental
- All donations to IPSF are eligible to be matched by the City of Irvine
What PTA Does:
- Funds site-specific needs which can vary by school such as equipment and supplies, support for PE paraprofessionals, Meet the Masters art program, health clerks, media clerks and enhanced technology
- Focuses on school sites, hosting assemblies, playground activities, parent education, book fairs, field trips and coordinate teacher appreciation events and Reflections Program
- Some high schools also fund areas such as software for computer programs, mini grants to teachers and Grad Night
City of Irvine
Irvine is a city built around education, quite literally, with neighborhoods planned and developed with schools at their heart. So it is no surprise that education is a priority in the community. Students consistently score at the top of state standardized test rankings, and schools are routinely recognized both regionally and nationally, for excellence in everything from math and science, to music and writing.
This commitment was solidified with the establishment of the City of Irvine Challenge Match Grant in support of education and intended to inspire community participation in bridging the growing gap between state funding and school district needs. The program matches all funds raised through IPSF, up to $1.3 million annually.
Thanks to a challenge grant from the City of Irvine, all contributions to IPSF are matched dollar for dollar, doubling the impact to our students.
Creative partnerships with the City of Irvine, local businesses, and community leaders with Irvine Public Schools Foundation, have provided additional sources of funding that help sustain and enhance crucial programs that might otherwise not be possible.