That includes elective teachers in non-core subjects, those offering homework help or tech tutoring, and teachers' aides, she said.
A district rule passed by the school board in 2004 prohibits PTAs from fundraising for personnel costs, she said.
The rule grew out of complaints about growing inequality between schools and neighborhoods — some PTAs seemed to rake in donations while others had less money to go around, she said.
PiE was founded in 2005 as a result, she said.
The nonprofit collects money district-wide then allocates it on a per-student basis at each school.
Across California, local education foundations such as PiE fundraise to supplement district funds. In basic-aid districts like Palo Alto, which don't receive more money from the state for each additional child, the foundations are a valuable source of funding in times of growing enrollment.
Palo Alto expects 420 additional students next year, according to Chief Business Official Cathy Mak.
And PiE may play a crucial role in helping Palo Alto cope with the $4 billion in state education-budget cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in January, she said at the school board meeting last Tuesday.
The cuts will take $890,000 from Palo Alto schools next year, she said.
Programs that lose funding — potentially including gifted and talented education, school-improvement programs and economic-impact aid that helps poor students — may be able to use money from PiE to avoid cutting services, she said.
The state legislature will vote on the budget proposal in May, and it would take effect at the start of next fiscal year in June.
Meanwhile, also at Tuesday's board meeting, the PiE board and Merchant were on hand to unveil a perhaps-rare sight in school districts: a dramatically blown-up check for millions of dollars.
The 6-foot check triggered board applause. Its $2.3 million will be split between elementary and secondary schools at $1.42 million and $880,000, respectively.
The teacher grant program will get $100,000.
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