Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

SMMUSD School Superintendent Shelton Appeals to Community for Donations

Superintendent's Message: Ed Foundation-Supported Programs at Risk

Editor's Note: The following is an email sent to the SMMUSD community on 3/5/24:

Dear SMMUSD Families,

I am writing with an urgent request and I hope you will read this entire message.

We rely on the Santa Monica Education Foundation to help supplement and enhance the curriculum of all students in our Santa Monica public schools. Since 1982, the Ed Foundation's mission has been to help ALL students succeed.

The Ed Foundation recently finished its big fundraising campaign on January 31. As of that date, 32% of our Santa Monica families had donated to support staff and programs in our schools. As a result of only one-third of families participating, we may have to consider cutting $600,000 in staff and programs for the 2024-2025 school year.

Here's what I can tell you:

Donations to the Ed Foundation fund elementary instructional assistants, the elementary P.S. ARTS program, 4th and 5th grade dance, and discretionary stretch grants for every school. Schools use these stretch grants to bring additional staffing, arts programs, STEM, and social-emotional learning programs to their classrooms.

Personnel costs increase every year. Because the majority of the Ed Foundation's funding is for personnel, we need to raise more each year.

To date, donations to the Ed Foundation have gotten them to 70% of their annual goal of $1.8 million to our District for 2024-25 programs.

That means we have about $600,000 left to raise by June 30, 2024 in order to avoid any cuts to programs.

We've raised enough so far to secure the elementary instructional assistants' jobs for 2024-2025.

What's at risk are the P.S. ARTS program in elementary schools and stretch grants for our secondary and elementary schools.

The Ed Foundation is working hard to raise as much money from outside organizations, like local businesses and other foundations and organizations, in addition to individuals. The Foundation will host its annual Wine Auction in April, which is projected to bring in about $300,000. That leaves us with $300,000 more to raise from other sources.

This is where you come in. Have you considered making a donation to the Ed Foundation this year? 68% of our Santa Monica families have not. I can't stress enough that ANY amount is appreciated. $300,000 might feel too overwhelming an amount, but remember – if everyone can give SOMETHING, we will get there. It all adds up.

If you have donated, THANK YOU. Your gift has helped us get this far. If you're in a position to give more, please consider making another donation.

I'm confident that if we all choose to support the Ed Foundation with a gift that works for you, we will reach our goals, and nothing will have to be cut.

I'm committing to you now to give you regular updates on the Ed Foundation's fundraising progress. But I want to make it clear that programs and staff are at risk of being cut or reduced if not enough is raised. So, please, consider a donation or an additional donation if you've already donated. This is the time to give what you can.

To learn more about how your gift impacts our students and schools, click here. See the Frequently Asked Questions on the Ed Foundation's website if you have additional questions.

Together, we can do this. Thank you in advance for your support.


Dr. Antonio Shelton

Superintendent, SMMUSD


Reader Comments(1)


Do not give money. During the pandemic, SMMUSD locked schools, alienated children, and refused to educate students. SMMUSD fought to keep schools closed. When they opened, children were provided with the bare minimum. They were allowed on campus but not allowed to socialize with other students or their friends. Now, SMMUSD sees the consequences of their actions and claims they are too stressed and exhausted from the pandemic to make up for the learning loss and other ramifications from their intentional failure to educate or socialize children. Teachers are too tired. We hear this every day! SMMUSD DID THIS TO STUDENTS and now will not accept the responsibility for their actions. They refused to return to school and educate kids. It's criminal. And now they see the results and are too overwhelmed to handle it. The only solution SMMUSD provides is to CUT programs because they can't handle it anymore. Do not pay SMMUSD to cut education. DEMAND MORE.