The Las Virgenes Educational Foundation was created in the 1980s. During those early years, the LVEF helped promote new technology in the classroom. In 2003, the Foundation stepped forward to help close the district's budget gap caused by cutbacks in California state funding, through a regional fundraising effort. Additionally, the Foundation took over operations of the district's accelerated summer school program, previously operated by a for-profit third party.
The Board of the LVEF is designed to be representative of the community, and made up of individuals who can bring unique perspectives and advantages to the organization. If you think you or someone you know who can help the LVEF achieve its goals, please contact us.
LVEF Board Members
- John Tamborelli, President
- Jennifer Bercy, Vice President, CAAP Co-chair
- Paul Wang, Treasurer
- Sharon Boucher, CAAP Co-chair
- Helen Davis, Board Member
- Cathy Selter, Board Member
- Ned Davis, Board Member
LVEF Management Team
- Stuart Selter, Executive Director
- Dave Jackson, Academics Program Director
- Paul Wang
- Jasmin Datu
- Ned Davis
- Steve Esmond
Why does the Las Virgenes and other Public School districts need the LVEF?
Public education is supposed to provide a similar level of educational opportunity to all students, regardless of location or affluence. The reality, however, is different from the concept. Each state pays the majority of its public education costs, and each one takes a different approach. Federal funding for schools is directly associated with community affluence. State funding varies depending on the test results of the students lower-performing schools receive increased funding to help them move up.
California schools, leaders in the nation in the early 1970s, are now ranked significantly lower than the national average. Our public school funding is in the bottom ten percent.
(Californias K-12 Public Schools: How Are They Doing? Rand Corporation 2005)
If we want to see a higher level of educational opportunity and quality in our schools, it is up to us to create it. As a result, parent organizations (PTAs, PFAs, PFCs, booster clubs, etc.) raise large sums of money every year to supplement school budgets, to hire specialists, and to try to maintain programs that would otherwise be cut. Once simply a voice of the parents and a way to bring an extra element to schools, these organizations are now big-money operations. In LVUSD alone, parent and student organizations raise millions of dollars every year, and if they stop, the entire structure will be endangered. A Foundation could enable programs throughout the district that are currently being funded a dollar at a time by parent groups at many schools.
Our four municipalities - Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, and Westlake Village - all have an interest in helping our schools, but do not have many opportunities to help schools beyond their jurisdiction. A Foundation can work to develop new means of civic participation in the school district, and can do so in a way, which will address the individual cities concerns and desires.
Regional businesses who wish to help often choose not to contribute to each individual parent organization who approaches them, out of fairness, wishing instead for a means to provide an equal benefit to all the schools. A district-wide Foundation is the equitable solution. By providing benefit to students throughout the district, doors are opened to funding sources, which had heretofore been closed. A Foundation can ensure that such funds get applied to specific applications, unlike contributions to the district, which must be placed in the General Fund.
A Foundation also has the ability to bypass the federal- and state-mandated restrictions on uses of funds, which keep district spending within very close boundaries. This means that unique and creative ideas by schools and individual teachers can receive funding from a Foundation that they otherwise could never hope to have. Creative teaching is often the root of excellence, and existing structures tend to limit that ability.
All these reasons, added to a clear need for outside funding as demonstrated every year by the efforts of thousands of volunteers, make it evident that a Foundation is a forward-thinking and equitable answer.
The Las Virgenes Foundation, originally organized to bring technology to the district, then reformed to help overcome funding shortfalls in the 2003-2004 school year, is poised to step forward as a key player in achieving and maintaining the high standards of the Las Virgenes
Unified School District, and support students and teachers K-12 in Public School Districts.