Fundraiser saves four teachers
LJHS still without full-time librarianLa Jolla High School started the year with a nearly complete faculty and staff, thanks to the fundraising efforts of students and parents, principal Dana Shelburne said last week.
When combined with money from the LJHS Foundation set aside to supplement staff costs, The “Save our Teachers campaign, raised enough only to keep four full-time teachers.
But the more than $96,000 they raised wasn’t quite enough to restore the librarian to full-time status, he said. Instead, a library technician serves the school only two days a week.
The “good auspices of the Foundation” and the hard work of the students and parents enabled him to keep the campus relatively whole, the principal said.
Last June, rallies on street corners and a telethon raised funds to fill part of the funding gap that opened when it became clear the state budget gap would not close.
Students understand the situation, Shelburne said, but “we try to keep adult problems away from them.”
While he met with the student senate after school started and told the members “It looks like business as usual” this year, he said. “We don’t know about next year.”
Shelburne has been deeply involved in school funding issues. Last year, he participated on a committee that examined how the district’s schools were funded, looking at it from the point of “if we started from scratch,” he said.
The focus was on students and teachers first, then the “add-ons” like administrators, nurses and information technology.
Their plan would have cost twice as much as was available, Shelburne said.
So they went back to the drawing board and recommended other ideas like having an IT person serve a cluster of schools instead of just one.
Then, when the budget came back from the district, the recommended priority was adding a vice principal.
“With this budget crisis, we don’t have enough teachers,” Shelburne said. “We were surprised to get a vice principal.”
When he did, he met with the two vice principals already on staff and they agreed to convert the position to a faculty spot, he added.
La Jolla High currently has 1,655 students; they had expected 1,667. That puts the school in range of possibly losing a teacher.
Staffing allocations are based on a ratio of one teacher for every 29.13 students, Shelburne explained, adding that the average teacher costs $83,000 for salary and benefits. La Jolla receives about $3,400 a year for each student.
Taste of LJ raises funds for schoolIt’s time to help the La Jolla High School Foundation Raise money - while sampling fare from more than 20 local restaurants during the annual Taste of La Jolla. Tickets are available at $30 each for the Oct. 13 event that starts at 5:30 p.m.
Eileen Pelky, who’s chairing the event, said the restaurants will offer dishes prepared especially for the evening.
Tickets are $40 in advance, or $45 at the door. They are available at the foundation office on campus (858) 551-1250, or directly from LJHS foundation board members.