Funds raised may save ESC

There were standing ovations at last week's Del Mar Union School District Board of Trustees special meeting. The happiness came after the board learned many of the teaching jobs DMUSD placed on the chopping block a few weeks ago would be saved and that the Extended Studies Curriculum would remain at most district schools.

The smiles came after a gloomy March when the district sent out 52 layoff notices. The district now may be able to rescind as many as 30 pink slips.

And thanks to fundraising efforts that included jog-a-thons, pancake breakfasts, garage sales and even a Carmel Del Mar Brownie troop donating money from its cookie sales, most school sites were able to meet their ESC fundraising goals. Ocean Air School alone raised more than $148,000.

"This is a wonderful district who has really pulled together and accomplished some amazing things," board President Katherine White said.

Trustee Doug Perkins echoed her gratitude.

"We thank the parents who came through as they always do," Perkins said.

Due to a budget shortfall, the district was forced to trim its ESC program to offer science, technology and let the schools choose to keep either music or art.

A district physical education specialist will be brought in to assist PE instruction in grades first through sixth.

By district policy, all of the individual school sites were permitted to raise enough money to double the number of ESC staff that will be provided to them in the 2009-10 school year.

Schools were given until April 15 to fundraise, and Del Mar Schools Education Foundation President Matt Zevin said as much as

$1.59 million had been raised and they are still counting.

Money is still coming in from corporate matches, and Torrey Hills School has yet to host its big fundraiser that was grandfathered in to count before the deadline.

Zevin said at the bare minimum, they will have $1.62 million next year, the equivalent of 18 teachers. The final amount, as well as a "laundry list" of people to thank, will come at the April 29 meeting, he said.

"It is truly remarkable what has gone on in this community. I could never have imagined it in my wildest dreams," Zevin said.

After April 15, the foundation's fundraising model turned from site-specific fundraising to district-wide. Zevin said the foundation still has work to do.

   
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