History and Mission

San Marino Schools Foundation exists solely to supplement the San Marino Unified School District in its quest to promote innovation and academic excellence.

For decades, San Marino has taken great pride in its public schools. Since the school district was founded in 1951, the children in the San Marino schools have benefited, arguably, from some of the best public education in the state. The hard work of teachers, administrators and parents has created this educationally rich and rewarding environment.

In 1978 and 2015, political events turned the funding methods for education in California upside down – the passage of Prop 13 in 1978 and Local Control Funding in 2015. Prop 13 changed the property tax structure and fund distribution for public schools in the state. No longer did San Marino’s property taxes get returned to San Marino. Instead, all tax revenues went to Sacramento to be distributed state-wide according to a needs-based formula. Prop 13 left San Marino’s schools to be funded by the state at a rate 25% lower than the California average. Today, San Marino remains at the bottom in State funding.

In response to Proposition 13, on March 25, 1980, concerned community members, led by Edmond Davis, Thomas Mack and the 17 other original trustees, created an innovative, results-driven charity known today as the San Marino Schools Foundation.

Now over 3 decades later, thanks to the continuous generosity of parents and community members, the Foundation has become one of the most successful public education foundations in California. To date the Foundation has contributed over $48 million to the School District. Through its Annual Campaign, the Foundation currently adds a minimum of $2,000,000 to the District’s operating budget each year, funding the equivalent of 15% of teaching positions distributed equitably among Carver Elementary, Valentine Elementary, Huntington Middle School and San Marino High School.

After Prop 13, San Marino remains at the bottom in State funding. Contributions made to the Foundation are as important now as they were in 1980. Currently, our schools receive only $8,800 per student from the state when the state average is $11,300. SMSF, with help from parents, community members and businesses, helps to Close the Gap. The San Marino Unified School District is committed to “Delivering a world-class education with recognized excellence in academics, arts, and athletics.” As the State’s top performing unified school district for fifteen consecutive years, there is no doubt that the SMUSD and the San Marino community are committed to protecting and preserving “a legacy of excellence” for all current and future students.