November 29, 2011; Source: Santa Monica Daily PressThe Board of Education in Santa Monica and Malibu has decided that any fundraising done by parents in the district to pay staff salaries must be put in a central pool that is to be made available to all schools. Such measures, of course, try to establish greater equity among schools in an environment in which school budgets are increasingly supplemented by outside funding.

District Superintendent Paula Lyon said at a recent meeting, “From where I sit, from the balcony view, looking at the district as a unified school district, using PTA to pay for staff is fraught with difficulties . . . Ultimately, it creates a climate in which instruction and instructional experiences can be different from one school to the next.”

Emotions ran high on both sides of the issue, however, and the hearings were packed to overflowing. Those who object say that implementing the change without sufficient community input will result in fundraising producing less, to the detriment of the schools.—Ruth McCambridge