On Monday, May 12, San Diego County schools were given a total of $126 million in federal money, part of the Obama administration’s stimulus package. Most districts received millions: San Diego Unified, $30 million; Chula Vista Elementary; $5.6 million; Escondido Union $4.5 million...and Cardiff Elementary? One hundred and eighty-five dollars.
For the two-school Cardiff district with 742 students enrolled, $185 represents less than 25 cents per child. Education officials say the funding formula comes from three different bureaucracies: the U.S. Department of Education, California Department of Education, and the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Jack O’Connell.
In a prepared statement, Mr. O’Connell announced to all districts, “These funds will have an immediate impact.” The immediate impact for Cardiff schools is the ability to buy 84 boxes of #2 name-brand pencils at the local Staples store — enough for 1.5 pencils per student.
During this current school year, Cardiff parents and staff have held fundraising events that have raised $47,820 — 258 percent more than the federal stimulus money. Cardiff district superintendent Tom Pellegrino, looking at staff cutbacks in order to balance a $7 million budget, recognizes the “immediate impact” won’t be felt this time around. The $185 check “will go right into the classroom,” said Pellegrino. Based on current formulas, Pellegrino said they’re hoping to receive $50,000 in the second round of funding.