Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) is the only non-profit educational foundation devoted exclusively to raising money for all Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) schools, and the only foundation dedicated to raising funds to pay for PAUSD teachers and staff.
We work with parents, the school district, and the community to provide all students an enhanced educational experience. PiE is the district's essential partner in providing support and enrichment opportunities that help every child receive a well-rounded, fulfilling education from PAUSD. We distribute funds on an equal per-pupil basis at each school throughout the district.
Why should I support PiE?
Public financing alone can no longer provide the high quality education we expect in this community. In order to maintain and build upon the academic excellence of PAUSD schools, which draws families to Palo Alto schools neighborhoods and keeps property values high, the community must seek additional funding.
California's ranking on per-student spending on education has steadily decreased since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, a consequence of the state's tax-reform efforts. Two types of school classifications resulted from this funding reduction: Basic Aid and Revenue Limited. Revenue Limited districts do not raise enough taxes locally to meet the state minimums and therefore receive funding from the state based on the number of students enrolled. Basic Aid districts (such as Palo Alto) are perceived to have enough local tax revenue to meet minimum school funding and, thus, receive relatively little state funding.
As a Basic Aid district, we rely on the generosity of local donors and ballot measures, in addition to federal and state funding, to supplement property taxes and support the school district’s high standards of excellence.
Your gifts to PiE are essential to preserve an outstanding education at PAUSD. PiE dollars now make up about 68% of the flexible funding that PAUSD principals can spend at each school for school-specific support and enrichment otherwise not funded by the district. These dollars fund classroom aides, counseling, arts, music and science in all our elementary schools; counselors and transition programs, sciences, arts and music electives and classroom support at Greene, JLS, and Fletcher; student guidance and support, additional sciences, arts and music electives, and college and career counseling at Gunn and Paly.
History of PiE
Established in 2005 through the merger of two existing local foundations – Palo Alto Foundation for Education (PAFE) and the All Schools Fund (ASF) – PiE was created in response to a 2002 PAUSD Board of Trustees decision to equalize funding for every school in the district by disallowing site-based funds for staffing, so that resources are distributed equitably. Today, PiE has become the only non-profit organization that raises funds for staff at all PAUSD schools.
Since 2005, PiE has given more than $58 million to PAUSD to support Palo Alto public education. While in the early years PiE paid for the "nice to have" programs on campus, today donations to PiE are crucial for maintaining core programs like science enrichment, general classroom aides, arts instruction, student guidance, additional electives, and college and career counseling. PiE provides nearly three-quarters of the flexible funding available to principals on all eighteen PAUSD school campuses.
Without your donations to PiE, PAUSD students would attend schools markedly different, with many fewer instructors and supporting staff for each student. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors have worked with PiE to make sure our children receive an enriched education in Palo Alto schools. Together, we will continue to make a difference for our children.