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Crestmoor Parents Raise Funds to Hire New Teacher

In an unprecedented effort for the school district, the Crestmoor Elementary PTO has put forth a proposal to hire a new part-time teacher to reduce the number of combination classes—with money they've raised on their own.

Wanting to cut down on the number of combination classes at their school, Crestmoor Elementary parents have banded together to try a new experiment this school year: pay for another teacher on their own.

The parents of Crestmoor's PTO have been meeting since last school year, and they launched a special fundraising effort called "One More Teacher" to raise the additional funding necessary to hire a sixth teacher at the school.

They were able to raise $22,000, which will be used to hire a new part-time teacher if the San Bruno Park School Board approves the proposal at its .

"Because of the nature of this position it will not be the cause of or set any precedent that would be used to determine past practice for the future," the proposal states. "It is a one-time solution to a unique problem and would not continue after the 2012-2013 school year."

The proposal seems to have the support of the school district, which has acknowledged the uniqueness of the idea of having parents—rather than the school district—pay a teacher's salary.

The school board would have to approve the proposal as a gift to the school district, which would come with a set of guidelines that would have to be followed.

Board members would also have to decide whether the proposal puts other schools in lower-income neighborhoods at a disadvantage.

"The Board will need to consider whether such a precedent would create the potential for a fiscal inequity issue between the district schools, based upon one attendance area's ability to fund raise," Superintendent David Hutt said in a staff report.

If the proposal is approved, Crestmoor will be able to hire a part-time teacher for its kindergarten class, which would allow all of the other teachers to focus on working with one grade in a classroom.

The school board meeting is at 7 p.m. at .

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John Hanson September 12, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Good for you Crestmoor, I hope you get it approved. Funny nobody cares when Bel Air & Allen have Free After School Care and Cresmoor has to Pay for after School Care if disired. Hutt you ought to be happy the parents are supporting their school. No help from you, instead you prefer to close Schools.
SP September 13, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Great idea, we should have thought of that in 2005, when Dr. Hutt had 60 kindergarten children enrolled at John Muir and he said there was no money to have a 3rd kindergarten class (3 classes of 20-- this is when California had The Class Size Reduction program, which was established in 1996) Instead, he forced 10 families to move to schools out of their boundaries, then split up the existing 10 kids to go into another class for attendance ONLY, those kids then split into two groups of five and they went into the kindergarten classes. The kindergarten teachers NOW had 25 kids everyday in class....so when the law stated "no more than 20 kids per class k-3" they were breaking the law and getting around it by having those said 10 kids in another class ON PAPER! He and the Principal at the time (Barbara Berman) then said they didn't expect such an influx in that years enrollment~~ really? these are all Millennium babies born in 2000, so go figure..5 years later Viola! huge Kindergarten classes! Breaking the Law and saying there was not enough money for a teacher! He's a piece of work!
Chris Kiely September 13, 2012 at 05:44 PM
People did think of things like this before. District wouldn't allow parents to fund core classroom teachers. This is going to be a special exception just for Crestmoor. What did the Board decide last night?
Salina Welsh September 13, 2012 at 07:06 PM
As a result, and among other things, Barbara Berman contract did not renew. Parents and teachers worked together very very hard to build a strong school community to attract more enrollment so we didn't have to have split classes at upper grade and more importantly, to fill our enrollment capacity. After all the hard work our community putting in, it seems to me that the friction that cause us to move forward is at the very top. Thank you SP for sharing this important information so we gain a good knowledge of who we are dealing with and where our problem is. I still remembered the frustration of the parents, we appalled and disbelieved of how the top management handled the gain in the enrollment...he can't handle it! Good job Crestmoor for being resilience. Our district have great middle management, top quality teachers and caring staffs, truly wonderful family, and...a piece of work!
Martin Ricard (Editor) September 13, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Here's an update about last night: According to Dr. Hutt, the board decided to accept the gift in support of the school’s proposal for adding a part-time teacher.
Chris Kiely September 13, 2012 at 09:14 PM
So is this a special rule just for Crestmoor, or can any school now raise money for teachers?
Karin Cunningham September 13, 2012 at 09:26 PM
It's HARD to raise money for teachers. It can come as a donation from the PTA, I think. At Allen we are trying to think of ways to keep our music program even if just on the smallest budget. Raising big money is a challenge.
Chris Kiely September 13, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Rollingwood and Crestmoor share the same principal. Rollingwood has 5 split classes too. Yet the "shared principal" is championing a proposal that helps one of his schools get rid of split classes, while the other still has 5. What's the difference? The first school contributed $22,000. Is that what we call public education here in San Bruno? I wonder if the folks at Rollingwood feel like they are getting an equal deal, even from their "own" principal?
Chris Kiely September 13, 2012 at 09:41 PM
So we let wealthier school control their own staff levels? This isn't just music or PE. This is letting a school raise money for regular classroom teachers. Private class-size reduction. If you can afford it.
Cliona McHale September 14, 2012 at 05:29 AM
As a Rollingwood parent, I'm appalled at the combination class situation at several schools, including mine. Even if every school could raise money to pay for an extra teacher, which we cannot, I think we are missing the point. We need a long-term strategy to reduce/eliminate combination classes, even if it means consolidating schools, as has been done in the past. The school board needs to systematically deal with this issue in a manner that benefits ALL of our students and teachers. We need single grade classrooms, grade-level teacher collaboration, and continuity of staff at our schools. Our kids will be together at Parkside, they deserve the same educational opportunities before they get there.
Chris Kiely September 14, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Cliona: you're right. The Board punted on tackling this problem last spring, and now they've made it an auction for teachers. Crestmoor had 139 kids in 5 split classes, and a pupil/teacher ratio of 27.8 to 1. Rollingwood has 140 kids in 5 split classes, ratio = 28.5 to 1. El Crystal has 121 kids in 4 split classes, ratio=29.4 to 1. Crestmoor now has no splits and a pupil teacher ratio of 23.2 to 1. Why? They had $$$$$. Ask your principal why he thinks it is appropriate for one of his schools to be favored over the other based on donations, in a public school district.
SBParent September 14, 2012 at 01:04 PM
@Chris - Your comments above are exactly aligned with Rollingwood parents' thoughts. I do commend Crestmoor for their fundraising efforts...they've seriosuly done an awesome job! Rollingwood is also raising money for PE and music, but raising money for teachers is out of Rollingwood's (and most other schools) demographic league. At a School Board meeting just a few short months ago, Crestmoor parents (and even a student) insisted combo classes were not a problem, and that they performed just fine in them, and just wanted to be allowed to stay open. District financial woes are still in full effect, enrollment is still down, yet all schools are still open, while one school has turned in their golden ticket to be exempt from the disadvantages we all know exist for teachers and students in combo/split classes. By allowing one school to pay for their own personal luxury amenities, such as additional teachers, at a time when other schools are suffering is completely unethical and divisive. ALL students in all schools in our district deserve the best possible learning environment, not just the ones who can afford to pay for an additional teacher. Through sports and other activities, most San Bruno kids have friends at all schools. I would love to see us all working together to benefit all schools, maybe with the help of SB Education Foundation, or holding more community events where we can bring all schools together.
Chris Kiely September 14, 2012 at 02:46 PM
The Crestmoor parents are trying to help their kids' education, and making great sacrifices to do it. They aren't the problem. This is a District leadership problem.
SP September 14, 2012 at 03:05 PM
They try to assure us that they are running the classes just fine, whilereminding us that the split classes have aids for 2 hours a day! wow, that's great, they are there 6.5 hours. (here's a though..pay the aids to stay there longer!!) My 4th grader is now in his 3rd consecutive split class!
Chris Kiely September 14, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Rollingwood parents should ask their Principal why the split classes weren't "just fine" for his other school.
SBParent September 14, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Asolutely! I agree, Crestmoor is just trying to make a bad situation better, and l commend their efforts.
SP September 14, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Sorry for the typos in my last comment, I was trying to get out the door to witness the "Traffic Mayhem" at Parkside AND to give myself enough time to get out of my driveway (THAT is a whole other topic here on the patch!)
Chris Kiely September 15, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Board meeting Wed. 9/19 to talk about plans to solve the budget problem.
Chris Kiely September 16, 2012 at 08:08 AM
Private donations discussed: http://www.bsd405.org/Portals/0/Departments/SchoolBasedDonations/Donation%20Comm%20Mtg%20Minutes%20032911.pdf Hard time finding anywhere that thought parents funding staff at individual site was fair or wise. Most common theme: decide what you need as a community and raise funds for it. It would help if the District had moved a little faster on its financial plan. Not sure why they couldn't have started working on it in January to April, instead of waiting until mid-August.
Colleen September 17, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I applaud Crestmoor for having a PTO Organization who listened to their community, set a goal and attained it. I am not sure what the issue is with them hiring a part time teacher that directly benefits most children in the school.
Chris Kiely September 17, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Colleen- My issue is with staffing at different schools being diferent based on the wealth of the parents.
Salina Welsh September 17, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Wealth is not the issue here. Participation and willingness to contribute are. To raise $20,000 (for another part time teacher)for 140 students is $145 per student. It is almost the same amount that we have to pay on the distribution day at Parkside for locks, PE, planner, yearbook etc. Crestmoor and El Crystal are a result of strong parent’s participation which create strong, proactive school community that come together and accomplish their goal. Wealth has nothing to do with it. They have set a good example here.
Chris Kiely September 17, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Salina: willingness to contribute = money. Lots of families can't afford $145, especially after paying that much for things like locker and planners, etc. At Crestmoor there were over 40 donors. But at least $15,000 came from only 9 donors. Some schools don't have a core like that. The parents at Crestmoor should be proud of the effort and sacrifices they made. The staffing arrangement is very well thought out. That doesn't mean letting parents pay for teaching staff at their own site is the right thing for a District to do.
John Hanson September 17, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I guess we could just sit and let them close the schools. Do you have kids in San Bruno Schools Chris?
SBParent September 18, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Salina: Are you saying there is no correlation between household income and amount of contributions to a school? Household income and demographics of a community play a huge role in the amount a family can contribute. It's not that they just aren't willing to contribute! For some, that would be a choice between spending money to house and feed their children OR spending it on their public school. In fact, many SB schools have lots of parents who donate their time in the form of participation because they cannot afford to donate money.
Annie Goldstein September 19, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Salina: I agree with you completely. I am a Crestmoor parent and I am no means wealthy. The last couple of years were tough for everyone including my family; when the economy went bad I cut things in my house; Expensive cable went out the door ($130.00+ per month) and my cute little cellphone went into moth balls ($120.00+ per month). We saved around $3000.00 per year with those two things. I clipped coupons for groceries, got hand me downs from neighbors etc. Two years later we can breath a bit more; I value education and if I have to do without things like a cellphone or cable for a while to give that boost for my kids then I will. Public Education can not be completely free anymore. I can't afford Saint Roberts so I am willing to give money to Crestmoor in order to boost my children's education. San Carlos and Burlingame are INDIRECTLY funding teachers because they fund other things. If the district doesn't have to pay for X then they can put more $$$ into Z. X= books, computers, supplies, etc Z= teachers, class size reduction, no split classes, GATE, etc
Annie Goldstein September 19, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I can not "just sit and let them close the schools." I'm willing to give. I think the next step is for everyone to join together and fund the San Bruno Education Fund. We need to make the Education Fund Stronger. Chris: I don't know when you guys are meeting again but I'd love to join in for another meeting; let me know.

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