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John Lee Evans

Schools Improving in Spite of Crisis

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San Diego schools have a lot to be thankful for in this holiday season. We are steadily moving towards a quality school in every neighborhood. We have many California Distinguished Schools. We have received awards for our exemplary career technical education programs. We are increasing access to college prep programs through our a-g program. We received a national award from the Kennedy Center for outstanding music education.

We are improving our schools through Prop S with state-of-the-art facilities for auto tech and broadcasting. We are leading the nation in technology. We are putting a laptop in the hands of every student over the next few years. We have rededicated ourselves to athletics and fitness as an important part of the school experience with updated athletic facilities. We are also adding arts facilities to offer a broad curriculum that includes music and the arts.

We have seen increased community involvement in 2012. Mira Mesa High has a community school agreement with the district. The Clairemont and Madison clusters have formed a Clairemont Mesa Educational Foundation to support their schools. Central Elementary in City Heights has a Dads Club with 200 fathers in attendance. We also voted to protect Title 1 funding for students living in poverty at schools with 40% or more students in that category, while giving additional funds to the schools with the highest concentration of poverty.

We are all aware of the economic crisis affecting our community, our state and our nation. Since I came on the board three years ago we have cut hundreds of millions from the budget and have reduced our teaching and support staff. We are now doing the same job with about 2,000 fewer employees. Nevertheless, the teachers and staff continue to work hard. Test results this week will show that we are doing an outstanding job in improving student achievement in comparison with other districts across the country.

As a board member, I will do everything within my power to continue the fine work of our schools. We can only divide up the money that the state decides to give us. We will take whatever measures necessary to make sure we balance our budget to protect our local control of the schools. This will require shared sacrifice on the part of our employees, students, parents and community. We are making the tough choices. Now the Governor and the legislature need to make the tough choices to ensure that our schools have the funds we need to operate.

San Diego schools are worth investing in and we have the results to prove it.

John Lee Evans

Vice President, Board of Education