IPSF, PTAs and other organizations take different paths toward a common cause

Ever considered making a contribution to IUSD, but you’re not exactly sure who pays for what?

There are, after all, a number of organizations that exist to support Irvine schools, including the Irvine Public Schools Foundation and our local PTAs. To clarify the roles of each, Superintendent Terry Walker emailed a letter to families last week. Here’s the full text:

Dear IUSD parent:

Surveys consistently indicate that our schools are among the top reasons families move to Irvine. That means there’s a good chance you’re here because you want the best educational opportunities for your child.

As we start another year, the Irvine Unified School District remains committed to sustaining those opportunities. Yet we know from experience that California cannot be relied upon to fully fund the level of quality and enrichment that our families expect. As a result, a number of local organizations have emerged over the years to help.

Admittedly, having so many supportive organizations may be a bit confusing for parents who would like to contribute but aren’t sure how. So allow me to take a moment to clarify the roles of a few groups that contribute to our success.

Irvine Public Schools Foundation. IPSF is the only organization with the reach and resources to impact every student at every school in our district, and it relies heavily on the support of parents and corporate donors. IPSF backs districtwide initiatives, providing funding for instructional assistant hours in larger classes, along with music, nurses, health clerks and grants for teachers, counselors, science and technology. The foundation also facilitates a number of vital programs including Afterschool Classroom Enrichment (ACE), the K-8 Summer Enrichment Academy (SEA), the popular Instrument Rental Program and the Donald Bren Honors Concert.

(How to support IPSF: You can make a tax-deductible donation to IPSF at any time by visiting www.ipsf.net. Or join the 365 Partners Program to donate the equivalent of one dollar per day for your child’s education.)

Your school’s PTA. School PTA units play a critical role throughout our district, coordinating essential volunteer efforts while raising money for supplies, equipment and site-based programs, including P.E. and assemblies. PTA funds cannot be used to hire additional teachers or to reduce class sizes, but they can be used for supplemental instructional assistant hours and health clerk hours. Every IUSD school has a PTA, and there are more than 13,000 PTA members throughout Irvine. Moreover, each site PTA is a member of the Irvine Unified Council PTA, which provides training and support through monthly meetings while coordinating district-wide advocacy efforts.

(How to support the PTA: Contribute your time and talents as a PTA member, or consider making a donation.)

Classroom collections, fundraisers and booster programs. Our schools may also seek voluntary donations to pay for classroom supplies, activities and special programs such as music, art, science and athletics at the high school level. Some schools have booster clubs, which are independent and voluntary membership organizations established to support a particular club, team or program. All contributions are optional, meaning no student will be excluded from an educational opportunity if his or her family opts not to pay. But donations are always welcome, and in fact they’ve become critically important in the wake of California’s budget crisis.

(How to support your child’s school: Look for information about volunteer and donation opportunities from teachers and the organizers of your child’s favorite activities.)

Just as the word “us” is right in the middle of “IUSD,” collaboration is at the heart of this district, which was established by forward-thinking educators who settled for nothing short of world-class schools and choices for parents. Nearly 40 years later, we are incredibly fortunate to offer some of the finest academic and enrichment programs in the nation, thanks in large part to our community partnerships and generous families like yours.

Again, all monetary donations are optional, and no child will be denied an educational opportunity, regardless of whether a contribution is made. But we hope you will help carry on this district’s collaborative spirit by spreading the word about IPSF, our PTAs and the many partners that contribute greatly to the success of each student.

As always, thank you for supporting education in Irvine.


Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools