History & Mission

PEF engages and inspires our community in support of student success in our local public schools.

School Underfunding Cartoon, 1988, Paul Conrad

The Peninsula Education Foundation was founded in 1979 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with a leadership gift of $50,000 from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation. The purpose of PEF was to raise money to maintain, provide and enhance vital education programs in the PVPUSD after Proposition 13 cut California State funding to all public schools in 1978.

Up until the early 1970s, school funding was heavily based on local property tax revenue, until a law suit was filed asserting that inequitable distributions to the schools were occurring throughout the state. The California Supreme Court took away local control of school funding and gave it to the state in 1979. The legislature established base funding for every district. Due to the PVPUSD’s fiscally conservative spending at that time, it was deemed a “low-wealth” school district, which means it receives less than the state average in per-pupil ADA (average daily attendance) funds.

In 1978, Proposition 13 passed, which limited property tax revenue, and school funding was severely altered. Since then, there has been a significant gap between what PVPUSD receives from the state and what it takes to educate the approximately 12,000 students in the district. PEF seeks to bridge this gap.

The majority of annual donations come from an annual giving campaign of parents and local businesses; major donors who give $2,500 or more; and The Main Event auction and dinner dance. Over the past five years, PEF has doubled its giving to the PVPUSD in order to help with drastic state budget cuts that started in 2007.

Currently, a large portion ($1.5 million) of the pledge is allocated to saving teachers’ jobs. The remaining pledge balance supports educational programs including elementary choral and instrumental music; library aides; PE for grades K- 5; and STEM for grades 4-5; intermediate safe schools counselors and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs; and high school academic and safe school counselors, College Career Center staff, as well as STEM programs for robotics and engineering called
PVIT and SMERT. Recently, the PEF Board voted to allocate funding for the development of a digital citizenship program at the intermediate level and the creation of  Parent University to provide technology training and resources to access important district and student information and resources.