Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 6:44 am | Fair 39º


Hope School District Education Foundation Seeks Community Support to Help with Budget Shortfall

District and Education Foundation leaders discuss the district's looming deficit for the 2017-18 year at a town hall meeting

Santa Barbara Hope School District Superintendent Anne Hubbard, left, and board members applaud the work of the district’s education foundation and the community at a town hall meeting Tuesday night. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara Hope School District Superintendent Anne Hubbard, left, and board members applaud the work of the district’s education foundation and the community at a town hall meeting Tuesday night.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

As Santa Barbara’s Hope School District battles budget deficits, an all-volunteer education foundation is looking for philanthropic support to help fill in the fiscal gaps.

The district held a town hall meeting Monday night, and leaders discussed how Hope School District Education Foundation contributions can help the district's finances in light of rising costs, reduced state funding and increased government mandates.

“This is public education and it’s a rocky road at times,” foundation president Holly Leck said. “It’s an adventure, but we get to help shape our children’s education in a big way. The foundation serves as a platform to bring ideas and funders together.”

The group wants to expand its campaigns to support funding in various areas, including investment in teachers, staffing for libraries, administrative support, instructional aids, and facility maintenance projects, Leck said.

The budget crisis has forced the district to lay off six full-time and three part-time teachers before the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Cutting the positions will save roughly $700,000 in salary and benefits.

Leck said the foundation is recruiting community members and advisors to get involved in a handful of areas.

“Our purpose is to sustain the Hope School District for the future,” Leck said. 

The nonprofit is searching for people who are interested in business and community outreach, event planning, grant writing, public relations, graphic design and communication.

“It will take people to join for this (organization) to grow,” Leck said. “It’s not only financing but thinking creatively about how we can reach out to our community to improve our schools.”

The two-year campaign goal is $1 million, according to the organization’s website.

The foundation raised $260,000 last year and pulled some staffing positions off the chopping block.

“This group stabilized staffing in a big hurry,” Leck said. “To maintain our standards, we need a strong district foundation.”

The nonprofit was founded in 1993 in response to state budget cuts and funding reductions for school programs.

Hope School District serves approximately 1,000 students in Hope, Monte Vista and Vieja Valley elementary schools in northwestern Santa Barbara, but to what extent in the future remains to be seen.

Even with the staffing cuts, the district faces a large budget deficit and district officials may consider closing one of the campuses, reducing administration positions, creating larger class sizes and creating mixed-grade classes. 

Parents, school staff members and principals were among the people who attended the packed meeting Monday night.

One speaker during public comment asked about the total amount of the budget deficit.

“It’s not a simple question,” Superintendent Anne Hubbard said. “Unfortunately, we have rising costs and unexpected expenses.”

Hubbard said about $1 million a year would help restore the shortfall.

The district operates under a $10-million budget annually, and is required to show a 1 percent reserve this year and a 4-percent reserve restored next year.

District leaders have until June 30 to come up with a financial plan for the next fiscal year. 

“We have been doing a lot of research and working hard,” Hubbard said.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 13 at the Hope Elementary School District multipurpose room at 3970 La Colina Rd. in Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >