The Irvine Public Schools Foundation contributed $750,000 to local schools Tuesday--making the first installment on a pledge to give $2.25 million to the Irvine Unified School District by the end of the academic year.
Foundation President Jerry Amante and Executive Director Greg Bradbard presented the funds at the school board meeting, where officials praised the efforts of the local fund-raising organization. The money will help pay for science, music, art and technology programs that were threatened by the budget ax last year.
In April 2000, the school district proposed cutting more than $4 million in programs to address a shortfall in funding from the state. As a result, the schools foundation, the Irvine Co. and the Donald Bren Foundation made a commitment to help fill the funding gap to keep the programs going. Since then, more than 2,300 individual and corporate donors have pitched in.
The foundation is now raising funds to meet the district's 2001-2002 school year need of more than $2 million. Although current pledges and commitments will provide a base for the next few years, almost $500,000 is still needed to reach the goal, group officials said.