A nonprofit education foundation dedicated to supporting Palo Alto schools presented a $4.9 million check -- its largest ever -- to the school district's board of trustees Tuesday night.

The annual gift from Palo Alto Partners in Education, or PiE, was made possible by 4,600 donors, according to the education foundation. The money will underwrite teaching specialists, counselors and aides as well as an array of electives ranging from music to industrial tech.

"This check represents a collective big gift -- assembled over many months by hundreds of parent volunteers and thousands of donors -- to preserve the excellence of our public schools," Terry Godfrey, president of PiE, said in a statement.

"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. 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."

Every student in the district benefits from the annual gift, according to the education foundation. The money is allocated on a per student basis by school level to provide funding at each school.

"Palo Altans rightly expect excellence in our schools and have demonstrated their commitment with this gift," Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Skelly said in a statement.

"A steady stream of reductions to state education budgets has significantly decreased the government funding allocated to this district -- even with the passage of recent ballot propositions supporting education. Donations to our schools through PiE alleviate these cutbacks and serve as a bedrock of financial support."

Since its inception in the 2004-05 academic year, the education foundation has donated more than $23 million to local schools. For more information about PiE, visit www.papie.org.

Email Jason Green at jgreen@dailynewsgroup.com; follow him at twitter.com/jgreendailynews.