NEWS

Irvine Co. to Donate $20 Million to Schools

Irvine Co. to donate $20 million to schools

By David Haldane, Los Angeles Times, B3
April 11, 2006
The Irvine Co. said Monday it would provide $20 million over the next 10 years to fund fine arts, music and science programs for fourth- through sixth-graders in the Irvine Unified School District.

The money will be in addition to the $25 million pledged by the Newport Beach developer to Irvine schools in 2000, officials said.

“We think it’s an important investment to acknowledge the importance of these programs in providing a comprehensive quality education in the school district,” said Michael LeBlanc, a company senior vice president.

Dean Waldfogel, the school district’s superintendent, expressed delight.”We’re very excited,” he said. “This will allow us to maintain the program at its current level.”

The program, which sends arts, music and science specialists into classes twice a week at a cost of about $2 million a year, has been funded primarily by the nonprofit Irvine Public Schools Foundation in conjunction with the school district, Waldfogel said.

With that money now guaranteed by the Irvine Co., the foundation will be free to focus on raising money for better healthcare on school campuses, said Tim Shaw, the group’s chief executive.

“Our immediate goal,” Shaw said, “is to lower the ratio from 4,000 students to 2,500 students per nurse on our campuses.”