What is LPIE and who does it support?

LPIE stands for Lafayette Partners in Education, a volunteer-driven, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1980 that engages in fundraising for Lafayette’s six public schools: Burton Valley, Happy Valley, Lafayette, and Springhill Elementary Schools, Stanley Middle School, and Acalanes High School.

Why do public schools need private funding?

Lafayette schools are among the highest-rated schools in California, yet they receive the lowest level of funding from the state. Understanding why requires looking at how public school funding works and what the entire Lafayette community does to make up the difference. Public school funding is determined by the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). This formula allocates more funding to school districts that have high concentrations of English language learners, low-income students, and/or foster youth. Because Lafayette schools do not have as many students who meet these criteria, they receive less funding than other California schools. The resulting low funding, compounded by rising operating costs, does not provide enough to pay for the expanded instructional programs that our students, families, and community value. To maintain the academic excellence of Lafayette schools, which attract families to our community and keep property values high, the schools must seek additional funding. That’s where LPIE comes in.

How does LPIE reach its fundraising goals?

LPIE relies on contributions from student families, community members, business partners, civic sponsors, and all supporters of public education to make up for the significant shortfall in funding from the state. While these contributions are essential, LPIE also believes that one of the most important parts of any education foundation is strengthening the community that it serves. LPIE hosts fundraisers throughout the year that bring people together in support of our schools, our children, and our community. With participation from everyone, we are able to meet the true cost of education and build a better future. Together, we make a big difference.

What is participation in LPIE and why does it matter?

A donation at any level counts towards your family’s participation in LPIE’s annual giving campaign each year. Your participation directly supports impactful programs and experiences in our schools and funds the staff and supplies that make them happen. Without your support of LPIE, many of these programs would not exist because state funding simply would not cover the cost. Funding from LPIE ensures that our children receive a well-rounded education at some of the best schools in California. Beyond the dollar value, participation does many things. It communicates to our children and teachers that we are willing to support them. Participation correlates with good schools, which greatly benefit our children and our entire community. It also encourages other community members to donate. Participation matters because we are all in this together. As such, our goal is 100% participation by all Lafayette school district families.

How much does LPIE contribute to Lafayette Schools?

LPIE donations, along with local parcel taxes, comprise a significant portion of Lafayette school budgets. At Acalanes High School, 22% of the budget comes from these sources. For the Lafayette School District, that number is 15% of the budget. Such significant percentages show just how much of a gap exists between the true cost of a quality education and what the state determines is adequate funding. The additional funding provided by LPIE is essential to maintaining our schools’ educational excellence.

What if I can’t donate the suggested amount of $1500 for K-8 or $1200 for my high schooler?

When we say, “every dollar counts,” we mean it. Participation is what matters more than anything, and every donation makes a difference in supporting our children’s education. We can’t say it enough—we are all in this together. If you can’t give the suggested amount, please give at a level that is meaningful for your family. And donations don’t need to be given all at once. They can be given on a monthly basis, spreading out the amount over the course of a school year.

Why do neighboring districts have higher or lower asks than LPIE?

Each education foundation has a different approach, and each does its best to raise the most money in support of education. LPIE's ask has increased gradually over the years in response to rising costs and budget cuts. That said, our ask is in the lower range compared to surrounding districts and other high-performing schools. We believe our current ask results in an essential contribution to our schools and a meaningful addition to our students’ education.

Does LPIE work with the Lafayette School District to determine curriculum?

Decisions about curriculum fall strictly under the purview of the school districts. LPIE does not make any decisions about curriculum. Additionally, LPIE is not involved in personnel decision hiring, or management of District employees. LPIE’s purpose is to fund district priorities, which are determined by the schools. Many of these priorities are often in jeopardy of being cut, and donations from LPIE keep them going.

How does LPIE support diversity, equity, and anti-racism?

LPIE is committed to operating through a lens of diversity, equity, and anti-racism, working closely with the District Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committees to inform LPIE’s efforts. Funds raised by LPIE support the Acalanes Equity and Inclusion Teacher, the Ethnic Studies Section, supplies for English and Social Studies classes, professional development for teachers and administrators, and classroom library books in TK-8. LPIE also empowers each school’s Parent Organization to address diversity, equity, and inclusion at their respective sites through our funding. LPIE maintains an ongoing dialogue with the Districts to understand their DEI initiatives and how LPIE can best support them so that all students can feel safe and supported, strive for educational excellence, and become agents of change.

How are LPIE’s operations overseen?

LPIE is governed by a Board of Directors that oversees the foundation’s operations in partnership with the Executive Director and a small office staff. Our Board is comprised of parents, advisors, and district administrators representing all six school sites. Members of our board bring a broad range of expertise, giving of their time willingly and working together to fulfill LPIE’s mission.

What is the role of Parent Organizations?

Parent Organizations at each school have a significant role. They are responsible for building community and school culture, hosting school-wide events such as walkathons, picnics, parent parties, and arranging other community-building efforts. Parent Organizations manage the funds that LPIE distributes to each school, such as those for teacher discretionary funds, classroom libraries, and other school-specific expenses.

I don’t have students in the schools. Can I still support LPIE?

Yes you can. And we thank you in advance. We are thrilled to receive your support regardless of if you have children currently in our schools. Our donors include people whose children have attended Lafayette’s schools in the past, grandparents of current students, and people who believe good schools promote more vibrant communities.

How can I get involved with LPIE?

Reach out! We’d love to have you. Our energetic, dedicated, and talented volunteers are what keep LPIE going. Whether serving on the board, helping on a committee, or filling a volunteer slot at an LPIE-sponsored event, there are always opportunities to get involved. Please contact the LPIE President at president@lpie.org for more information.