As a longtime supporter of our local public schools, I have followed with great interest the recent successes of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation. I urge all your readers to go on the foundation’s website and view the extremely impressive list of community members and local businesses who have contributed financially to the foundation this year, supporting critical educational initiatives that otherwise would not be funded. You will see that these locally raised dollars support innovative performing arts programs and training for instructional aides in all district elementary schools. They fund grants to individual schools that reflect the uniqueness and address the needs of each school community. You will also see that all of the district’s 15 schools made contributions and four of our district schools (one in Malibu, and three in Santa Monica) are top contributors. What a heartening indication that the goal of district-wide fundraising is being met.

Having been involved in the early discussions that led to this centralized funding model, I would like to say a belated “bravo” to Superintendent Sandra Lyon, who has provided the leadership needed to make this funding approach a reality. Because of the clarity of her vision, along with the fundraising efforts of the Ed Foundation, the proposed district budget for 2015-16 achieves the goal of funding equity while providing innovative programs for all district students.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation raised $2.3 million this year — four times the amount raised just two years ago! Kudos to the dedicated Foundation staff and the hundreds of community members who played a role in this extraordinary effort.

Barbara Stinchfield
Santa Monica

The realities of rush hour


I read with interest the article in the June 11 issue of the Daily Press where incoming City Manager Rick Cole wants us all to work together. Great idea. In the article he references a Japanese principal, “Genchi Genbutsu,” which translates roughly to “Go look, go see.”

I think an excellent manifestation of this idea would be to conduct meetings about future development in Santa Monica in regular passenger cars on the streets of Santa Monica between 3and 5 p.m. onweekday afternoons. The car would have two representatives each from the developers, city staff, and residents. The developers and city staff would take turns driving. I think a lot of the issues that have been ignored for years by city staff and city council would be difficult to ignore and difficult to defend at meetings conducted in this bumper-to-bumper setting. Yes, Rick Cole, “Go look, go see” is definitely the way to do it. When do we go for our ride?

Richard Orton
Santa Monica

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