Faced with the onerous task of trimming $100 million from the 2009-2010 budget on the heels of plummeting state tax revenues, the San Diego Unified School Board has elected to make cuts that will likely lead to closings for several magnet schools, including the acclaimed School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) and the Language Academy.
The cuts, under the School Board’s budget reduction “Plan A”, call for eliminating transportation to magnet schools. The SCPA, located in Paradise Hills, busses in 90% of its student body, and it is likely that enrollment will decline significantly next year should transportation be eliminated. School officials declined comment about how many of the currently enrolled 1400 students would not be able to return next year. A rumored study on the impact of the bussing cuts has yet to materialize, so hard facts are difficult to come by. Given that 45% of the students in the performing and creative arts program also come from economically disadvantaged households, the threat facing SPCA (and other schools) is very real.
San Diego’s magnet school system includes programs at over two dozen schools. All of the Magnet schools combined use a total of 262 buses and the district is predicting that their elimination will save $10.1 million. The school board is expected to hear comments and take action on the proposed budget at its March 24th meeting.
Although there had been earlier discussions about terminating the magnet programs, eliminating bussing was not discussed in any public forums. District officials are tight lipped about the proposed cuts, refusing to comment about the potential side effects. Hundreds of students and parents have signed petitions or sent emails to the school board opposing the decision.
more news as it becomes available….