Our public schools in San Diego are confronted with a new challenge between now and the end of the century. A new "baby boom" of students is coming into the schools. San Diego city schools expect an increase of about 40,000 new students in the next 13 years.
To put it bluntly, the school district does not have classrooms for all of these students, nor does it have the money to build the new schools it needs. The district's projected income from developer fees and property management fees will pay for only a small portion of the needed facilities. School buildings are being used to capacity, with 16 more elementary schools moving to a multitrack, year-round operation this summer. A real crisis in school facilities is upon us.
Fortunately, we in San Diego have a chance to solve the problem. In June, voters in the San Diego Unified School District will have an opportunity to approve a financing proposition by only a simple majority of the voters.
I believe that passing this proposition is important to the future of public education in San Diego. We simply cannot afford to educate our students for the 21st Century in overcrowded, substandard conditions.
RALPH R. PESQUEIRA