Together Every Step of the Way
Maintaining the high standards for education we expect for our students is a community effort. Almost all of the funding for our district comes from local sources -- property taxes, local parcel taxes, and parent and community donations through Kiddo! and school PTAs.
We encourage the entire community to participate in our budget development process. We want you with us every step of the way: understanding how the district is funded, what may affect that funding, and how decisions are made, and why.
Our priorities in approaching budget development:
- Informed decision-making
What Does It Mean to Be Community Funded?
The majority of district revenue comes from our local property taxes in accordance with the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). In order to provide sufficient revenue to meet the high educational standards of our district, we also rely heavily on parcel taxes approved by Mill Valley voters (e.g. Measure E), and on parent and community donations to our funding partners, Kiddo! and our school PTAs.
The Covid-19 pandemic and its economic effects brought a number of uncertainties to our school district, both logistically and economically. Potential effects on the district budget that have impacted staffing or programming, or may in the future, include:
- Reduced revenue due to:
- fluctuations in the property tax base
- reduced donations to Kiddo! and PTA
- Increased costs due to:
- additional hours or staffing due to virus accommodations
- new costs for cleaning or other requirements.
During our budget development process all factors are taken into consideration as information develops from the county, state and larger economic trends.
- Reduced revenue due to:
Who Are Our Funding Partners?
Kiddo!, the non-profit Mill Valley Schools Community Foundation, is the primary fundraising entity for the district, raising about $3 million annually from district parents, businesses, foundations, alumni, grandparents, and the local community.
What Does Kiddo! Fund?
Kiddo!'s core purpose is to fund comprehensive, district-wide arts education programs that equitably benefit every child at all six of our schools. Kiddo-funded teachers and programs include art, vocal and instrumental music, curriculum-integrated drama, dance, and poetry. Kiddo! may also provide funding for other vital needs as designated by the district.
How are Funds Raised?
To allow for district budget planning, Kiddo! begins raising funds in May for the following school year. Each family is generally asked to contribute a suggested donation amount. In light of Covid-19, Kiddo! modified the usual May campaign kick-off. Those families that are still in a position to donate are asked to consider making a contribution this fall.
Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) are non-profit organizations that advocate for children, build community for families and fundraise at each school. The PTAs of all five elementary schools and the middle school fund critical site-specific needs.
What Does the PTA Fund?
Our PTAs work with the Principals at each site to fund many site-specific programs. Our PTAs support programming both in the classroom, to enhance and enrich student education, as well as school-wide events to build community. In addition to site-specific programs that build the character of each of our schools, all Mill Valley PTAs fund school supplies, library books, student assemblies, and emergency preparation.
How Do PTAs Fundraise?
Mill Valley’s PTAs raise over $950,000 for our schools annually. In general, our PTAs raise money in the fall to be spent during that same school year. Each PTA conducts its fundraising based on what works best for its community, which can range from First Day Asks to Fall Fundraising Parties to Community Walk-A-Thons and more. Often, PTA fundraising activities are co-mingled with large-scale community building events.
In light of Covid-19, our PTAs have been working harder than ever to create ways to support our students and staff, and build community. Last year, to serve families during remote learning, PTAs reimagined beloved programs, including moving assemblies, author visits, book fairs, and community building events to virtual formats, building school library collections with ebooks that can be accessed remotely, and strengthening the parent education series with online webinars. As conditions change, our PTAs will continue to work with our schools to ensure a strong school community.