By Mark W. Bath
President, Torrey Pines High School Foundation
As a parent and homeowner in the San Dieguito Union High School District, I have had the distinct honor to serve as president of the Torrey Pines High School Foundation for the last two years. This position has afforded me an inside look at the financial challenges that our district faces as we strive to continue to provide the top flight education that our students, parents, and community have come to expect.
Each year committed volunteers raise funds to help support our schools and bridge the gap in funding from Sacramento. Yet there are some projects that are simply too big and too critical for volunteer organizations to tackle. Looking to the future the district administration and its planning committees have realized that all of our schools will need upgrades to meet evolving technological standards for classrooms, labs and libraries. Aging schools, the oldest 75 years old, suffer from leaky roofs, rusty plumbing and inadequate electrical systems. Some schools don’t meet modern seismic standards; others still have hazardous asbestos and lead to remove. Uncertain revenues from Sacramento, even if current state propositions should pass, means that soon our board and administration will be facing decisions between providing safe, modern schools and teachers in our classrooms.
San Dieguito UHSD has not asked voters to pass a bond measure in more than 40 years but we cannot afford to wait any longer. We need a secure source of local funding that the state cannot dip into to assure that our school district remains among the top public schools in the country. When my family moved here 12 years ago it was because of the schools. When housing prices around the country were plummeting, our neighborhoods held more value than most because of the schools. The expected cost of this bond measure is significantly less than the average donation to our foundation and something I consider a great investment in the quality of local education as well as my homes resale value.
There have been several letters recently by current and would-be board members expressing their displeasure with Proposition AA. While I appreciate everyone’s right to their opinion I am saddened by the politicizing of our student’s future. Having been involved in bond measures in other school districts, I believe this to be the best thought out, most thoroughly planned request I have seen to date. The proposal has been through multiple rounds of trimming, revision and consideration to emerge as Proposition AA. The web site friendsofsandieguitoshools.com contains full details of the intended projects and I urge all voters to go there, read it, and decide for yourselves. I for one support Proposition AA wholeheartedly and I hope you and your readers will join me and vote Yes for our communities' future; vote Yes on Proposition AA.