Hello, I am Scott Curtner, President of the San Bruno Education Foundation (SBEF).
Before I joined SBEF’s Board of Directors, I volunteered nights and weekends at Crestmoor Elementary, my little girl’s school, one block from my home. In 2013, our school was targeted for closure—and I was going to save it. I believed if I could tell everyone in my neighborhood, they would all be as outraged as I was. We would donate generously and raise more than enough money to keep our school.
Though it had been five years since the 2008 real estate crash, people were still hurting and many weary teachers and families decided to transfer to other schools rather than stay and fight. A ragtag few of us continued to fight the receding tide of California school funding. However, Crestmoor Elementary soon joined the list of closed schools (see an interactive map of the history of schools in San Bruno). I was the last President of the Crestmoor Elementary Parent Teacher Organization.
Throughout this time SBEF was working to raise money, not only for Crestmoor, but for all of our public elementary schoolchildren. SBEF board members, many of them founders, had seen the success of other education foundations in our neighboring districts such as Burlingame, which was raising over $1 million annually at the time. Well-supported education foundations were funding reduced class sizes and childhood enrichment programs that otherwise could not exist. By contrast, SBEF was raising about $10,000 annually in 2013. Being an all-volunteer nonprofit, we were able to donate nearly all of the money raised to San Bruno schools.
Patrick Flynn, then-President and founding member of SBEF, took notice of my passion for supporting the local public schools and asked me to join him. Pat was a former Portola PTA President who had graduated to the role of SBEF President after being disturbed by the defunding of excellent long-standing programs such as Parkside music and GATE. After I succeeded Pat as SBEF President, he took on an even more demanding role in the San Bruno Park School District as a member of the Governing Board.
During my first year as President, SBEF continued the work of the previous Board under Pat and grew our fundraising from $10,000 annually to $25,000. In my second year, we partnered with a group of parents and raised $50,000. Last year we again doubled our previous year’s fundraising, bringing in $100,000. This year we are on track to sustain this growth; in partnership with the Capuchino High School Alumni Association, we have received a three-year $500,000 grant from the San Bruno Community Foundation to fund a K–12 music program. We have also brought in a part-time professional grant writer. I could go on about our many recent successes, but all the growth SBEF achieved was built on the efforts of the many volunteers and contributors of the past and the present.
Today, most of our funding comes from grants provided by local nonprofits including the Welch Family Foundation and the San Bruno Community Foundation. These grants fund afterschool music and coding clubs, as well as summer art, math and reading programs. Children from all backgrounds benefit from these programs, and we work especially hard to provide access to the underserved families of San Bruno.
Our school district is in the beginning stages of a crucial transformation. The consequences of inaction are untenable, but the path forward is also not guaranteed—the success of this plan depends entirely upon the response of our community.
The most direct way you can contribute is to donate right now. Nearly 100% of funds given to SBEF will fund science, math, and music education for the children in our schools. Will you join the rest of San Bruno and do your part to remake our school district?