The Del Mar Schools Education Foundation (DMSEF) is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to raise money to pay Extended Studies Curriculum (ESC) teacher salaries for the elementary schools in the Del Mar school district (DMUSD). The DMSEF board is entirely comprised of parent volunteers from these schools, usually two from each school. The DMSEF was created to facilitate fund raising from the district as a whole, rather than have the PTA of each school raise funds for their own teacher salaries, as that caused certain issues for the school district. The DMSEF is a legal 501(c)(3) organization and as such, has special tax status. Donations made to the DMSEF are tax-deductible.

ESC (Extended Studies Curriculum) is a program covering subjects other than the standard reading, writing and arithmetic. This includes the standard 5 subjects of Science, Music, Art, Technology, and Physical Education, and others less well known, such as Foreign Language study, Math Enrichment, Integrated Arts and Library. ESC classes in the Del Mar Union School District are taught by credentialed teachers and provide students with focused, hands-on instruction, outside of the homeroom class. During ESC classes the homeroom teacher gets time to prepare lesson plans and tailor classes for students. Only about half of the funding for ESC comes from the the Del Mar school district (DMUSD). The other half comes from the DMSEF, and ultimately from parent contributions. If parents stopped giving, then these classes would cease to exist.

The funds raised by the DMSEF are combined together and given to the Del Mar school district (DMUSD) for the ESC program. The funds are restricted and can only be used by the DMUSD to fund ESC teacher salaries. They are completely separate from the district’s allocation of other funds and cannot be reallocated or used for any other purpose than ESC.