The independent, parent-led foundation that raises money for Palo Alto public schools presented a $4.9 million donation at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.
The funds from Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) will be allocated on a per-student basis to underwrite classroom aides, specialists in reading, math, science and the arts, student guidance, college and career counseling and electives ranging from music to industrial technology.
This year's contribution represents more than 4,600 donations from parents, community members and local businesses, PiE said. It is the largest in the history of the nine-year-old foundation, which last year raised $4.4 million for the schools, amounting to more than 2 percent of the district's operating budget.
It includes a single, $50,000 contribution from Palo Alto Realtor Juliana Lee.
"As an immigrant from Taiwan, I hope to lead the way in local philanthropy," Lee said of her gift.
"There are many Chinese families who move here mainly to send their children to Palo Alto schools. I hope other families will follow my example and give as much as possible to benefit our community and help keep schools strong."
Terry Godfrey, PiE's board co-president and CEO, called the donation a "collective big gift -- assembled over many months by hundreds of parents volunteers and thousands of donors -- to preserve the excellence of our public schools.
"Working together we demonstrated once again that we can fund the kinds of programs we want for our children but that the district can no longer afford," Godfrey said.
"These PiE dollars will increase the number of caring adults on our campuses, provide hands-on arts and science and a rich array of electives for kids to explore, and ensure that more counselors are available to support all our kids."
PiE board members confer with school-district officials to set priorities for the funds.
At the elementary level, this year's gift will go toward classroom aides, instructional assistants, reading and math specialists, and art and music classes.
In middle schools, the funds will go toward academic guidance and programs to promote social and emotional development, student connectedness and grade-level transitions. They also will go toward expanding electives, including music, creative writing, arts, broadcast journalism, biotechnology and industrial technology.
At the high-school level, funds will go toward increased staffing for counseling, student guidance and added electives, including engineering, career technology, media and the arts.
Since its inception in 2004-05, PiE has donated more than $23 million to Palo Alto schools, which has a current K-12 enrollment of 12,396.
Superintendent Kevin Skelly called PiE a "bedrock of financial support" to the school district.
"Palo Altans rightly expect excellence in our schools and have demonstrated their commitment with this gift," Skelly said.