La Jolla High ‘conquered’ cuts in 2011, but budget woes persist

Get involved

What:

16th annual Viking Golf Classic

When:

11 a.m. April 30

Where:

La Jolla Country Club, 7301 High Avenue

Website:

ljhs.sandi.net/foundation

School phone:

(858) 551-1250

By Pat Sherman

An eleventh-hour fundraising drive held last spring by the Foundation of La Jolla High School raised $160,000 to prevent some staffing cuts during the current school year.

But a new round of state budget cuts may mean the elimination of as many as 14 La Jolla High teachers this fall — something parent and community fundraising alone cannot prevent.

The $160,000 raised during last year’s “Conquer the Cuts” campaign was used this year to keep the library open on a full-time basis and to pay the salaries of a full-time finance clerk, an additional student counselor and part-time language arts teacher. Funds also helped provide additional staff hours for after-school programs, said foundation president Sandy Erickson.

“The bottom line is that the $160,000 will all be gone by the end of the year,” she said. “We’re down to the bare bones. … With the budget cuts, the foundation will not be funding any staffing next year.”

Since a teacher’s salary can range from $80,000 to $90,000, the foundation has decided its money would be better spent next year on textbooks, school supplies, and maintenance of existing technology such as computers, printers and overhead projectors.

“The state is not even adopting new text books,” Erickson said. “If we want to either repair, replace or update text books we have to pay for it ourselves.”

This year the foundation raised $18,000 from its annual Taste of La Jolla benefit in the fall and $90,000 from its Nautilus gala on March 10. Erickson hopes to raise an additional $30,000 from the foundation’s Viking Golf Classic on April 30 — its third and final fundraiser of the year.

Throughout the year, parents, alumni and community members may donate to the foundation’s general fund via its website, ljhs.sandi.net/foundation, or designate money for a specific area, such as athletics or academics.

A list of donations and expenditures, which is updated at the end of every month, is available on the foundation website.

“If you donate to football, we can’t take your football money and use it for something other than football, so that’s why we try to get people to donate at the more general level,” Erickson said.

The foundation was once able to fund capital improvements and facilities maintenance from its general fund, including construction of its aquatic center, the addition of lights and artificial turf for its football field, new lockers and resurfacing of its tennis courts.

“Obviously, we can’t focus on that kind of stuff now,” Erickson said. “You could say we’ve done what was needed, but as you know maintenance is never over with. There are things we would like to do, but we have to set that aside because now we’re talking about school supplies.”

The foundation will meet with school administrators and principal Dana Shelburne next month to tell him how much money is available from the foundation’s general fund for the coming year, and ask how Shelburne thinks those dollars would best be spent.

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