FAQs

What is SchoolForce?

SchoolForce, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Public Schools Foundation, was formed in 2001 when the school district was facing drastic budget cuts. The SchoolForce board is composed of parent volunteers representing all schools in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School district.

Why do we need an Education Foundation?

Before Prop 13, districts could count on tax income to meet their funding needs. In 1978, California school budgets were upwards of $9 billion. The following year – with the passage of Prop 13 – those budgets were slashed, nearly overnight, by nearly 60%. California now ranks 41st in funding per student (adjusted for cost per living).

In response to Prop 13, parents began to form education foundations to fill the resulting gaps of public school funding. In 2001, parents in our community created SchoolForce, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Education Foundation, after a series of failed parcel taxes jeopardized the continuation of staffing and programs.

I pay a lot in property taxes already. Aren’t our local schools already well-funded?

Unfortunately not. Property tax funds all public education, which includes the high school district, community colleges, state colleges and universities, as well as BRSSD. In the past 15 years, BRSSD experienced high growth in enrollment with a relatively flat property tax base and no longer meets the minimum per-student school funding. Now, we are limited to the funding we receive from the state – plus any locally generated revenue.

Belmont Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD) receives the least state funding – 23rd out of 23 – among all public school districts in San Mateo County. The district relies on local sources like SchoolForce and parcel taxes to cover nearly 20% of its district annual $50 million budget.

What is the difference between SchoolForce and the PTA? Why should I donate to both?

SchoolForce addresses critical district-wide staff and programs such as: science, art and music teachers; in-class technology; art, music and physical education programs; professional development; teacher innovation grants; social emotional learning and support. PTA supports programs such as field trips, assemblies, family nights, classroom supplies, science and book fairs.

By supporting both organizations, you provide both the educational infrastructure our children need, and the enrichment and enhancements that make school more engaging. At the start of the school year, SchoolForce and PTAs coordinate combined fundraising through the Education Commitment Campaign.

Why is the recommended donation so high?

SchoolForce is a crucial and reliable part of the district’s annual budget. The requested donation is high, but it represents a tiny percentage of the tuition at a comparable private school. It’s easy to break the donation into manageable monthly recurring donations (that still qualify for tax deductions and corporate match), which puts the monthly ask in the same general range as a monthly utility bill for many homes.

For families that cannot give at the ask, we welcome all donations at all levels – participation by the highest number of families is an important part of building community. And families that can afford to be even more generous, we appreciate their commitment to quality public schools.

How is the SchoolForce budget allocated?

Each year, SchoolForce raises funds to support the following school year’s budget. The vast majority of funds are allocated directly into the district budget for critical staff and resources, including teachers and resources that support every student in every classroom. Beyond the District allocation, SchoolForce funds art and electives at all schools, staff innovation grants, and counselors at all schools.

Who donates to SchoolForce?

The majority of donations come from parents in the community through direct donations, stock donations, and contributions from donor advised funds. SchoolForce receives about 25% of its funding through company matching. In addition, a number of local businesses support SchoolForce with generous donations, in-kind gifts, and grants.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Yes, donations are 100% tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. SchoolForce, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Public Schools Foundation, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (tax ID 91-2159650).

How do I stop, increase or decrease my recurring donation / monthly giving amount?

We will charge your payment method at the frequency you request when initiating your donation. To to view, increase, decrease or stop your recurring donation login to your account. On the dashboard, you’ll see a “Recurring Transactions” section.