PTAs try to bridge school budget gaps


"Library books, custodial supplies, phone bills, that's been cut in half," Oak Avenue Elementary School Principal Dave McNuly said.

The Los Altos School District is feeling the short fall first hand. At Blach Junior High School, the district cut the school's operating budget in half.

It is a similar story at nearby Oak Avenue Elementary School.

"It seems to me the state is less and less able to fulfill their responsibility for providing for public education," McNuly said.

The schools are now relying heavily on a different funding source, school parent-teacher associations.

"I think private donations and local taxes will probably be the way we bridge the gap," Oak Elementary PTA President Elizabeth Maciag said.

The PTA usually pays for computers, laptops and teachers aides, but at Blach, it will spend $40,000 on necessities like paper, pencils, copying expenses and ink jet cartridges, instead.

"As a parent it's very frustrating and I frankly don't understand how the legislature can ignore some of these dramatic budget cuts that they're looking at for our schools," Blach PTA President Katie Matice said.

They are cuts that may keep coming. The library at Oak Avenue will likely be the next program to go.

Many principals think 2010 will be even worse.

As the need for private dollars grows, the PTA continues to raise money through walk-a-thons, auctions, and hot lunch sales, but parents know they cannot be replacement for the state, they are simply a short term solution for a long term problem.

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