Executive Summary‐1• 1,927 responses, 60% more than 2010.• Representative sample by school and by grade. Non‐donors under‐represented.• Focus of survey was on satisfaction with 2010‐11, offers minimal guidance for a potentially very different 2011‐12 program offering.• Same as 2010, the quality of LASD schools heavily influenced parents’ decision to move to Los Altos.• LAEF Donation Attitudes: – No significant change vs. 2010 in parent attitudes re: reason to donate despite an increase in LAEF’s suggested donation amount to $1,000 per student per year. – Parents understand that the district counts on their financial support. – Among respondents, 94% state they donate to LAEF annually. – Notable increase in donor expectation that all parents donate whatever they can afford, with broad understanding that not all parents able to donate equally. – Parent sentiment can be characterized as “I’m counting on all parents to do their best to give all they can.”
Executive Summary‐2• LAEF Board & Grant‐Making – Parents give LAEF Board volunteers good marks for communicating about funding and reasons to give. Opportunity to be more visible on school campuses and explain how LAEF works with district administration. – Parents often in the dark about how LAEF’s grants is determined and how benefits are allocated. Opportunity to help parents understand that all children benefit from LAEF’s grant in equal measure.• LAEF Funding & Fundraising – Overall, parents understand they are leaders in the community vis‐a‐vis financial support for schools, but feel stretched by perpetual increases in fundraising and need greater support from the broader LASD community (Eg: non‐parents, non‐donors, staff). – Most parents remain committed to supporting high‐quality, well‐rounded education (smaller class sizes, enrichment programs) with private donations. Strong commitment to Measure E parcel tax increase among parents with a good understanding of school finances and higher LAEF donations. – Of those less committed to increasing support, many state a need to better understand where money is going before increasing their donations. Less engaged parents providing smaller LAEF donations are marginally less supportive of Measure E.
Executive Summary‐3• LAEF Program Satisfaction: Overall satisfaction high across all grades and most programs. – Opportunity for most programs to increase parent communication to improve parent understanding of program curriculum. – Strong concern over maintaining class size in K‐3. – Increasing dissatisfaction with components of FAB program in Grades 4‐6. – Junior high overall satisfaction high across all LAEF‐funded programs.• Programs to Save if Budgets Need to be Cut – Class size reduction most important for K‐3 and 7‐8 parents. – Strong support for library among elementary parents, support is less strong among junior high parents. – PE is most important to parents of 4‐6 graders.
Executive Summary‐4• Combination Classes – Mixed reviews; some parents see them as potentially beneficial while others are willing to endure school transfers, higher class sizes or increased LAEF donations to avoid them. – Many parents(42%) want more information about combination classes.• Teacher Furlough Days – 83% of respondents feel this year’s 3 furlough days had no negative effect on their child’s education. 79% of respondents are strongly in support of 3 furlough days again next year. – Without specifying the number of instructional vs. prep days, nearly two thirds (63%) of parents don’t believe 5 furlough days in 2011‐12 would have a negative impact on their child’s education. Parents of junior high school students are more evenly divided on the issue. • Budget Cuts – Increased sentiment among parents that they are making sacrifices but schools need help from the broader community of non‐parents, non‐donors and staff. – Increased sentiment to see school board take bold action to balance revenues and expenses. Want school board to consider cost‐cutting ideas other than eliminating parent‐funded programs.
2011 Survey Stats Total survey response increased over 60% vs. last year with 1,927 respondents. The distribution of respondents was fairly representative of the distribution of families by school and also by grade. Elem Schools # of Families % Elem Population # of Responses % of Responses Over (Under) RepresentationAlmond 381 16.04% 223 13.6% ‐2.44%Covington 341 14.36% 247 15.0% 0.64%Gardner Bullis 190 8.0% 152 9.2% 1.2%Loyola 404 17.01% 302 18.4% 1.39%Oak 297 12.51% 209 12.7% 0.19%Santa Rita 395 16.63% 232 14.1% ‐2.53%Springer 367 15.45% 279 17.0% 1.55% 2,375 1,644 Jr. High Schools # of Families % Junior High # of Responses % of Responses Over (Under) Population RepresentationBlach 439 44.8% 251 46.7% 1.9%Egan 508 55.2% 286 53.3% ‐1.9% 947 537
School Quality Influences Moves To Los Altos• Same as 2010, 88% of parents surveyed stated that the quality of Los Altos School District public schools was Influential/Very Influential in their decision to move into the district. – Parents with children in elementary school only are more likely to have been influenced by school quality whereas parents with children only in junior high give less credit to schools for their move to Los Altos. Comments:“In many ways the quality of our schools defines us as a community”.“We bought an inferior house in Los Altos in order to have our son attend school in LASD. Well worththe sacrifice, as we have a great school, great teachers and a great community of caring parents”.
LAEF Opinions & Attitudes “No one WANTS to pay more, but our kids’ education is nothing to skimp on—we’ll do what we have to do”.
Parent Support of LAEF is Tremendous! Which statement best represents your attitude about donating to LAEF? 3.4% I donate, but LAEF is not my highest priority 0.5% 2.0% non-profit cause I try to donate to LAEF every year, some years more/less than others depending on my 18.3% financial situation 29.3% I donate to LAEF every year because I am able and I know the district counts on my support I give the suggested donation every year and feel that every family in the district should too I am willing to donate to take the tax deduction, but otherwise Im not really an 46.5% LAEF supporter I choose not to donateOverall, no significant changes vs. year ago in how respondents answered this same question despite a 25% increase in the LAEF suggested donation.
LAEF Donors Want Everyone to Participate At An Amount They Can Afford“If LAEF needs more [money], its fair to ask those of us who can afford more. I dont want those who cant afford it to feel bad. At the same time, everyone should donate at least something.”“I think every family with children in the school district has the obligation to step up and contribute to LAEF (unless limited by their financial situation), and not rely on a few individuals to shoulder the burden.”“My family is on a budget but we make at least the suggested donations every year. But I always feel a part of that amount is calculated to cover the families that do not donate. “
Parent Opinions of LAEF Board• The large majority of LASD parents understand that LAEF Board members are parents like them and most feel that LAEF communicates effectively with the community on funding issues.• High percentage of neutrals and many comments suggest opportunities for the LAEF Board to: – Better explain how LAEF advocates for parents with the School – Be more accessible on school campuses – Show parents how grants are allocated by school and by grade to illustrate that all schools and grades in the district receive an LAEF benefit “package” with a similar value
Funding & Fundraising Issues• While parents are frustrated by school funding they are still very committed to donating funds so that their children receive a great education. – Majority of parents are very committed to public school even if fundraising efforts increase.• Of respondents who had an opinion about the parcel tax, 5:1 parents felt the parcel tax was necessary to provide local control over funding.• There are mixed opinions on the level of LAEF funding in the district. – Comments indicate that some of the respondents who disagree feel funding should be higher, others feel it is too much already.• Parents are definitely feeling stretched by increased fundraising in the district. – Mixed response on whether people would donate more seemed to largely be due to their wanting to know more about the district budget before committing to donate more.
Kindergarten Satisfied/ Dissatisfied/ Neutral/ Very Satisfied Very Dissatisfied Don’t KnowLibrary 88% 1% 11%Class Size (</= 24 students/class) 76% 11% 13%Art Docent Program 63% 7% 30%Science Specialists 55% 8% 37% The majority of Kinder parents are Satisfied/Very Satisfied with LAEF funded programs: • Highest satisfaction with Library & Class Size Reduction • High percentage of neutrals and a large number of comments suggest Kinder parents need more information about the Art Docent and Science programs
Kindergarten Program CommentsKinder parent comments (84 total) were focused around four themes: • Current class sizes of 24 are too big • Teachers place too much reliance on parent participation in the classroom • No communication about art or science programs • Kinder schedule dissatisfaction (dislike afternoon or want a full day)Comments:“My sons class is on the cusp of being too big and I think there are 24 kids in his class. It is only through the support of parent volunteers and extra hands in the classroom that they are able to manage well.”“It seems that the school relies a great deal on parent participation.”“I must admit that I do not know if my kids (I have 2 in K) had a class with the hands‐on specialist or art docent so far this year. If indeed they did get such classes, then it would be good to have the teachers communicate that fact (and the funding from LAEF) in the weekly classroom newsletter.”“I wish the children were not so rushed to finish a quantity of work which might be normal in a full day kindergarten.”
Grades 1‐3 Dissatisfied/ Satisfied/ Very Very Satisfied Dissatisfied NeutralLibrary 86% 3% 11%Class Size (</= 24 students/class) 79% 9% 12%Computer Lab 76% 5% 19%Science Specialists 72% 7% 21%PE Specialist 72% 7% 21%Art Docent Program 72% 5% 23%The majority of Grade 1‐3 parents are Satisfied/Very Satisfied with LAEF funded programs: • Highest satisfaction with Library & Class Size Reduction • Similar to Kinder parents, some parents of children in Grades 1‐3 don’t know enough about the Science Specialists and the Art Docent program to rate it
Grades 1‐3 Program CommentsParents of 1‐3 Graders made 171 comments about LAEF programs around several themes: • Current class sizes of 24 are too big • We have more than 24 children in our class • No communication about art, science, computer or PE programs or not sure if their child has those classesComments:“Would like to see more [hours of the subject] offered, though I know were lucky to have what we have already”.“I do not believe my child has received any hands‐on science this year in 3rd grade. My sons teacher chooses to not use the art docent program/lessons even though it is well received by the other 3rd grade classrooms parents, students and teacher.”“My child has 25 students in his 1st grade class even though LAEF ‘promised’ < 25”.“Would like more updates on the content of the LAEF funded programs”
Grades 4‐6 Satisfied/ Dissatisfied/ Very Satisfied Very Dissatisfied Neutral Library 82% 5% 13% PE Specialist 79% 6% 15% Science Specialists 73% 6% 21% Art Docent Program 66% 5% 29%The majority of Grade 4‐6 parents are Satisfied/Very Satisfied with the LAEF funded programs:• Highest satisfaction with Library & PE − PE satisfaction increased 10 percentage pts. over last year which may reflect the increase in PE minutes• Similar to K‐3 parents, 4‐6 parents don’t know enough about the Science and Art Docent programs to rate them reflected in high neutral scores & many comments like: “The FAB teachers, librarians, and computer specialist need to be communicating theircurriculum to the parents, and demonstrating some sort of outcomes. Otherwise, it seems likefiller.”• Other comments reflect parents’ desire to have more time spent each week in these enrichment programs
Fine Arts Block (FAB) Satisfied/ Very Dissatisfied/ Satisfied Very Dissatisfied Neutral FAB‐Overall 65% 10% 25% FAB‐Instrumental Music 61% 15% 24% FAB‐Digital Design 59% 7% 34% FAB‐Vocal Music 49% 11% 40% FAB‐Visual Arts 48% 10% 42% FAB‐Drama 42% 16% 42%• Overall satisfaction with the FAB program fell 6 percentage pts. from last year to 65% and parents were less satisfied with FAB than any of the other LAEF funded programs for 4‐6th grade − Relative to other LAEF funded programs, there were higher levels of dissatisfaction with most of the FAB programs• Vocal Music, Visual Arts & Drama scored less than 50% Satisfied/Very Satisfied with high neutral scores
Grades 4‐6 FAB Program CommentsParents had a lot to say about FAB with 167 comments made:• Some were positive, mostly about the Digital Design class, but the majority were mixed or negative falling in 3 themes: • Need more instruction time in the subject • Lack of communication about FAB programs • Dissatisfaction with specific teacher/teacher qualityComments:“The quality of the teachers has to increase ‐ I dont want to fundraise to have mediocre teachers ‐ incredibly disappointed in the quality of the program. Also, having children take music only 1x a week turns them off to music. Parents rent equipment for 6 months, instruction is minimal, and it teaches children to disdain their instrument ‐ so sad”.“I feel music is very important in the school. The enthusiasm of the teachers and quality of the experience is minimal. I would give more for better teachers.”“I’m glad the kids are still exposed to the arts, but I honestly have not heard much about them... either from my kids or from the school. Mrs. V in the digital design is good about sharing info, havent heard a thing about the rest of the programs (and havent seen any "visual art" come home). In contrast to the 09‐10 school year when I heard tons from my lower grade child about the dance/drama program ("starting arts" I think)”.
Grades 7‐8 Satisfied/ Dissatisfied/ Very Satisfied Very Dissatisfied Neutral Science‐ CSR 82% 3% 15% English‐ CSR 81% 4% 15% Social Studies‐CSR 77% 3% 20% Electives 71% 11% 17% Teacher in Charge 68% 3% 29% Library 59% 5% 36%Overall, junior high parents give LAEF funded programs high marks: • Parents are happy with class size reduction (CSR) in core classes − Parent respondents prioritized importance of small classes in the following order: Math, English, Science, Social Studies • Electives had mixed reviews across the two junior highs despite the fact that over 90% of parents reported their student received one of their top 3 Elective choices this year. − 16% of Blach parents are Dissatisfied/Very Dissatisfied with the Elective program vs. 10% at Egan
Budget “What If” QuestionsPrograms to Keep: K‐3, Grades 4‐6, Grades 7‐8 Combination Classes Teacher Furlough Days
Programs Parents Want To Save From Budget Cuts Grades 1‐3 Grades 4‐6 Grades 7‐8 Programs to Programs to Programs to Continue Funding Continue Funding Continue Funding Class size reduction (94%) PE Specialists (76%) Class Size Reduction (88%) Library (67%) Library (73%) Electives (78%) Computer Lab Specialists (59%) Instrumental Music (71%) Teacher‐in‐Charge (20%) PE Specialists (53%) Science Specialists (68%) Library (15%) Science Specialists (53%) Digital Design (52%) Art Docents (31%) Vocal Music (40%) Art Docents (40%) Visual Arts (30%) Drama (28%)Percentages of respondents rating the program as the 1st or 2nd most important program to continue funding if large deficits force district budget cuts .
Combination ClassesParent reaction to the possibility of combination classes in elementary school was mixed:• Some parents feel combination classes could benefit their child or other students while other parents would rather switch schools, let class sizes increase to 30 or donate more to LAEF to avoid combination classes.• Many parents(42%) would like more information about how combination classes would work.
Majority Support Furlough Days This year teacher and staff unions voted to take 3 unpaid furlough days (1 prep day & 2 school days) to save the district $420,000 resulting in a 1.6% pay cut to all staff. Have Children In: Both Elem Jr High Elem/ All Parents Only Only Jr High Do you feel reduction of school days and teacher prep time have negatively impacted your child(ren)s education this year? Yes 17% 17% 19% 14% No 83% 83% 81% 86% Do you feel that the teachers should take 3 furlough days again in 2011‐12 ($420,000 savings)? Yes 79% 78% 77% 83% No 21% 22% 23% 17% Do you feel that 5 furlough days would negatively impact your child(ren)s education? ($700,000 savings)? Yes 37% 37% 43% 32% No 63% 63% 57% 68%• Strong majority of parents (83%) feel that this year’s 3 furlough days had no negative effect on their children’s education and 79% of parents surveyed are strongly in support of 3 furlough days again next year.• There is less support for 5 furlough days than for three, but most parents (63%) don’t believe that 5 furlough days would have a negative impact on education, except for parents of only Junior High students, who are more split on the issue.
Parent Comments on Furlough DaysThroughout the survey , there were 316 comments on teacher furlough days and compensation. Most of the comments (in order of frequency) reflect five themes:1) Neutral or okay with furlough due to the budget deficit/circumstances "I would prefer not to lose more school days, but losing a couple more days is preferable to increased class sizes.“2) Want district to make long‐term changes for teacher compensation instead using short term solution of furlough days "Need a structural, permanent change in the District expenditures, rather than one‐off solutions like furlough days. An example would be increased employee contribution to insurance costs and retirement." "Furlough is a temporary fix. The district should instead do a better job negotiating the teacher contracts.“3) Not fair to the teachers to take a pay cut "I do not think it has impacted my childs education, but I am sure it has impacted the lives of teachers. It is unfair to ask them to do this and I do not support it as a solution to our financial problem."4) Not enough days in the school year already5) Furlough days are hard on working parents "One teacher remarked that the teachers were taking the hit for furlough days but thus is wholly untrue. Working parents must pay for childcare, which can be as much as $20/ hr or $120/family per day. That means each family with working parents spent $360 on the furlough days. If you estimate 1000 families impacted, thats $360,000 spent by families in the district. This cost should be pointed out to teachers and staff so they understand that families are sharing the burden."
Sharing of Survey Results• March 7 ‐ Share with District Administration• March 8 ‐ Share with Principals at their Administrative Council Meeting• March 14 – Posted to LAEF Website on March 14 and email sent to parents• March 21 – Share with Los Altos School District elected board members and community at the LASD School Board Meeting• March 25 ‐ Will be presented to PTA Presidents at their Presidents MeetingSurvey Results will be used as input to decide on 2011‐12 LAEF Programs/Grant
THANK YOUThe LAEF parent survey was designed, conducted and analyzed by parent volunteers on the LAEF Board.If you have additional questions, please contact laef firstname.lastname@example.org one of the parent volunteers would be happy to respond.