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Thursday, March 19, 2009 | Getting rid of busing to magnet schools hits home for me. Both of my sons attended Zamorano Elementary School and the School for Creative and Performing Arts, or SCPA.

I was the ceramics teacher at Zamorano for three years, and I worked as a substitute teacher there and at SCPA for three more years. My sons really didn’t “fit” in their neighborhood school and they were willing to get up at 6 a.m. every morning to catch the bus for the hour-long ride to a school they loved. The biggest reason I sent them to those schools was that they were so well integrated. They made friends with kids from all over the city, of all races, religious backgrounds and ethnicities.

It was the best environment I ever could have wished for them, and I certainly would have been willing to pay for the busing to have them attend. Many other school districts have parents pay for their bussing program rather than cut the buses. San Diego Unified seems to be one of the last districts to be paying for buses. Perhaps this would be a more reasonable solution to the funding problem. I will certainly be sending this suggestion to the school board!

My sons are grown now, but they still have strong connections to the friends they made at both Zamorano and SCPA. I also have a continuing connection to SCPA as I am the president of the Clay Artists of San Diego, a non-profit corporation that has just become a “Partner in Education” with SCPA, and is donating $1,000 to assist in the creation of a ceramic sculptural addition to the campus. The construction of that will begin on April 3 and will be a hands-on workshop directed by artist Peter King. It is such a shame that district officials don’t recognize what a prize they have in these schools and what a wonderful change magnet schools have made in the quality of people we are sending forth into our society as a result of their exposure to such diversity!

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