Carmel Unified School District is geographically one of the largest school districts in California. At over 600 square miles, (roughly the size of Rhode Island), it encompasses Pebble Beach and Carmel Valley, extending into sparsely-populated areas of Big Sur and the small community of Cachagua. It is often overlooked that the district serves these remote areas with families of migrant farm workers.
It is often overlooked that the District serves these remote areas that may include many low-income families. The reality is that the cost of living in Carmel is three times the national average; 17% of CUSD students are enrolled in the Free/Reduced Lunch Program, and 15% of CUSD students are non-native English speakers. With the median rent price in Carmel being 74% higher than the national average, and the median home price 62% higher than the national average, many families with students in CUSD make a substantial living "on paper" but may struggle to provide even minimum educational opportunities for their children.
Meanwhile, college costs are rising dramatically. There have been massive tuition increases over the last 20 years growing disproportionately to other consumer goods. In fact since the 2000-2001 school year, tuition costs have gone up 212% for in-state public institutions, 165% for out-of-state public institutions, and 144% for private institutions (Briana Boyington and Emma Kerr, 20 Years of Tuition Growth, US News and World Report, 9/17/2020) It is, therefore, no surprise that the cost of funding a college education limits many of our students’ access to college.
Consequently, it is crucial that more resources be offered to CUSD students seeking to further their education. The Carmel High School Foundation recognizes this pressing issue and supports CUSD students through its two programs, both of which help alleviate the financial barriers to success in college. These two programs are the endowment for post-secondary scholarships, and the Ron Stoney Educational Pathways Program (which draws from an endowment, donations, and grants), supporting experiences outside the high school classroom.