District unites to save ESC


Donations to save the Del Mar Union School District’s Extended Studies Curriculum came in all sizes, from $1 to $10,000. At last week’s school board meeting, Del Mar Education Foundation President Matt Zevin presented the school board with a check for $1,349,543.

And Zevin expects $50,000 more by June 15 from matching corporate sponsors and last weekend’s Torrey Hills School carnival.

The check represented a huge step in forming a districtwide community, which is how fundraising will now be tackled rather than site-specifically.

“I’m excited, feeling the community being built, the all-for-one attitude,” Trustee Comischell Rodriguez said. “You can just feel the difference, the change in the atmosphere.”

Due to the fundraising efforts, 44 layoff notices were able to be rescinded.

David Skinner, Carmel Del Mar teacher and president of the Del Mar California Teachers Association, said a big sigh of relief came with the district’s speedy notification of rescinded pink slips.

There are still eight teachers whose layoff slips have not been rescinded, and the board will meet between May 7 and 13 to make those decisions. Rodger Smith, director of human resources and facilities planning, said he expects that of those eight, more could be rescinded.

Zevin said when he signed up to work on the foundation, he quickly learned that he had no idea what he’d gotten himself into, especially with the large divide between the foundation and individual site’s PTAs.

After starting on shaky ground, Zevin has seen the gap close between the two groups and said he watched in wonder at how the community pulled together.

“I’m very proud and humbled to report the amazing transformation within the community,” Zevin said. “Everyone has been nothing short of remarkable.”

Each PTA donated more than $300,000. A group of Torrey Hills students fundraised amongst themselves and came up with $1,000. Carmel Del Mar students, with their “Little Hands Can Do A Lot” drive, raised $12,000.

And Zevin’s work at the foundation helm did not go unnoticed.

“Your leadership and energy has pulled everybody together,” board President Katherine White said. “What a difference you’ve made.”

“It’s the first time I’ve seen cohesion,” said Sandra Logan, Carmel Del Mar PTA co-president.

Zevin said they are already off to a great start for district-wide fundraising, starting with large donation from the Ashley Falls School staff.