SMMUSD School Board Considers Master Agreement For District-Wide Fundraising

Thursday, 29 Nov 2012, 12:01:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

In its first meeting since the Nov. 6 election, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board of Education went to work on a key issue: fundraising.

Board members were presented Nov. 15 with a potential Master Agreement between SMMUSD and the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) to streamline fundraising priorities of district-wide programs.

“No policy has existed at either SMMEF or SMMUSD governing the determination of funding priorities. Consequently, no process has been formalized to determine the greatest needs in the District and the capacity of SMMEF to meet those needs,” the Master Agreement reads.

“No policy has existed at either SMMEF or SMMUSD governing the determination of funding priorities. Consequently, no process has been formalized to determine the greatest needs in the District and the capacity of SMMEF to meet those needs,” it continues.

The Master Agreement has yet to be finalized and there may still be some tweaks to language, but the spirit of the policy considerations promoted a partnership between SMMEF and SMMUSD in raising money for common projects affecting students throughout the district.

As outlined in the first section of the Master Agreement, the Board would have to approve special funding requests for commitments beyond the upcoming school year.

Funding priorities would be considered one school year in advance, with the process starting as early as the November of the current school year. After an initial discussion between SMMEF and SMMUSD of possible funding priorities, an advisory committee would then consider those priorities. Later in November, the SMMEF would determine whether there is an actual capacity to fund the priorities.

In mid- to late-winter, a staff report on district-wide funding priorities for the upcoming school year would be presented to the Board of Education. Come March, the Superintendent and SMMEF leadership would work together on a tentative agreement on priorities that could be funded.

The tentative agreement would be formally presented to the Board in May and ultimately vote on the funding commitments.

In all, there are 10 sections in the Master Agreement: allocation from SMMEF to SMMUSD; maintenance of effort; fund distribution; program evaluation and reporting; formalized communications; use of data and shared information; lobbying and advocacy; donor relations; representation on committees and advisory bodies; and, the process of how to amend the Master Agreement.

The SMMEF was formed in 1982 and aims “to provide community and corporate funding in support of public education for the students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.”

“Even though SMMEF is independent from SMMUSD, it is essential that the two organizations work closely to establish funding priorities, determine feasibility and sustainability of programs, educate the community about the schools and report results on joint programs,” the introduction of the Master Agreement reads. “This Master Agreement provides a framework under which present and future leaders of SMMEF and SMMUSD will participate with one another in a mutually beneficial partnership.”

For the 2011-2012 academic year, the SMMEF received more than 80 percent of its revenues and support from event net income (32 percent), contributions (26.5 percent), and Summer Program registration income (23 percent). More than half of its expenses were on academic programs and scholarships, the arts, and athletics.

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