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Crisis on Campus

March 13, 1988

Recently it has come to my attention that the Poway Unified School District is facing a "crowded campus crisis." Unless we find a solution, the alternatives are larger class sizes, double sessions, busing to schools elsewhere and general worsening conditions for our school-age children.

As an innocent victim of crowded campuses as a high school student, I can speak with some authority on the subject. The experience of being a freshman at a "split-session" high school outside Chicago in the late 1950s will always be remembered. I went from being an outgoing student leader in junior high school to a frightened, withdrawn lost first-year high school student as I tried to make my way through hallways jammed with more than 5,600 kids!

I believe that the quality of education in our Poway award-winning schools is seriously threatened today. If we do not act decisively April 12 and pass the school bond issue, our children will suffer needlessly!

Many of us feel that growth in our communities has been too rapid, particularly in recent years. I hope that there are ways to successfully deal with this problem but not in this arena at the expense of our kids. Many of us feel that other people should pay to solve our problem, i.e. developers and the state, and maybe they should. But apparently, like it or not, developers are paying under state law . . . , and it appears that if we wait for our number to come to the top of the state's priority list, we could be waiting a long time. The backlog in California for needed schools is approaching $10 billion! If the Legislature acts this session and if the voters approve in June or November a bond issue, less than 20% of the demand would be satisfied.

I think it is time to admit that we are the problem! Let's stop denying the problem. No longer can we point fingers at the Legislature, at developers, at school administrators or at our school board. We are both the source and solution of this problem.

Let us get on with a positive plan to keep our district at the top of the academic list. We truly are "wealthy" communities. Let's put our money where our mouth is and take the first step by voting in support of Proposition A! Once we become involved and take responsibility we will find quality solutions that go way beyond that of providing immediate construction funding for an additional four public schools.



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