Piper Underwood | Rimini
Buddhists hold that the origin of suffering is our attachment to transient things, and that transient things include not only physical objects, but also ideas. If this is the case, there’s going to be a lot of suffering when the DMUSD School Board hands down its cost-cutting verdict early next year. With a projected 2009 – 2010 district deficit of 1.2 million, the board has appointed a district advisory committee (the 7/11 Committee) to review options for saving the district money and finding a home for district offices.
On September 9th, a group of concerned parents calling themselves “Save Our Schools,” held a public meeting for community members where the proposals affecting the two schools west of the 5 - Del Mar Hills and Del Mar Heights - were laid out for the small, but vocal, audience. We were encouraged to write comments on the proposals which were taped to the walls.
As I gripped my handout, poised to scribble notes, I was forced to address some of my own attachments. The first proposal essentially closes down Del Mar Hills altogether, making room for district offices, maintenance operations, and a district-wide preschool at the site. One man walked by this proposal and remarked, “Well, obviously this is a very bad idea.” I don’t have to guess at his attachment.
The second proposal is similar to the first; however, in this scenario, Del Mar Hills would also take on Kindergarten, and the Special Education day classes would be moved from Del Mar Heights to Sycamore Ridge. This proposal hears an emotional plea from a parent of a special needs student who wants to keep her 3 children at the same school.
The first two proposals are estimated to save the district approximately $500-700k annually. Obviously, closing a school has its drawbacks, including community “suffering,” but it has its financial plusses too.
As for me, I don’t initially feel I am attached to any of the proposals, and wonder if I have achieved some sort of district enlightenment. Just as quick as it comes, however, the bubble of my enlightened bliss, is popped when I see proposal 2A. Here is a scenario where the two schools would be reconfigured, one hosting K-3, the other 4-6. With the idea of sharing administrators, the plan is estimated to save the district $250-$350K.
While some are attached to a physical structure, others to an administrator or fellow student, I discover I’m attached to the idea that my two children will one day walk to school – the same school. Whatever your attachment, I suggest you pay attention because suffering is coming to a school near you.