Thursday, November 12, 2009

NEWS RELEASE -- San Diego School Innovation at Saturday's Magnet School Fair

News Release from the San Diego Unified School District, November 12,


SAN DIEGO -- Parents looking for choices for their child's education and
San Diegans wondering just what their schools are like are invited to
attend San Diego Unified School District's Magnet School Fair, 10 a.m.
to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Recital Hall in Balboa Park.

The fair is a kickoff event for the annual enrollment options period,
when parents can apply for admission for their child to attend a San
Diego Unified magnet school for the 2010-11 school year. The application
period runs through Feb. 15.

San Diego Unified has 32 magnet schools, each with a specialized program
in addition to a standard academic curricula. Programs allow students to
spend their entire school career in one area, if parents should so

For example, science, technology and engineering programs are at Johnson
Elementary School in Emerald Hills, Millennial Tech Middle School in
Chollas View and SciTech at the San Diego High Educational Complex in
downtown San Diego and Science Connections and Technology at Kearny High
Complex in Linda Vista. Another example: performing arts, with the Crown
Point Junior Music Academy in Pacific Beach and the Oak Park Music
Conservatory in Oak Park for elementary students; the Creative and
Performing Arts Middle School in Clairemont; and the San Diego School
for Creative and Performing Arts (grades 6-12) in South Bay Terraces.
Language programs include Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and French.

At the fair, students are scheduled to perform in a variety of areas,
ranging from dance to science programs. Representatives from each school
will be on hand.

This year's fair has added significance, as budget constraints may
eliminate the programs for 2010-11. Transportation service was reduced
for 2009-10, cutting the number of students who could participate.

"We invite our parents to visit and see what options are available for
their child," said Bill Kowba, Interim Superintendent. "But just as
important, we invite all of San Diego to this fair, whether or not you
have children. Your taxes fund these programs; however because there is
no local control over a large portion of our revenue, the Board of
Education may be forced to shut down these excellent programs."

The district is facing a budget reduction of $84 million or more for the
2010-11 school year. Magnet programs can be more expensive than standard
school curricula. In addition, San Diego Unified provides bus
transportation for many of the students who attend these programs.

Only six of the programs have independent grant funding which would
spare them from cuts: Barnard Elementary Mandarin Chinese Language
Magnet, Alice Birney Elementary Academy of International Studies Magnet,
Johnson Elementary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
(STEM) Magnet, Joyner Elementary MicroSociety Magnet, Millennial Tech
Middle School STEM Magnet and John Muir Magnet School for Global
Citizenship. However, transportation to these programs could be

Kowba noted that San Diego Unified's basic academic programs -- math,
English and science -- are among the best in California, highlighted by
near-top ranking among the large school districts in the state. And,
with the recent study that placed California's academic standards among
the highest in the nation, that means the San Diego Unified is one of
the top school districts in the nation.

"These magnet programs provide different types of education that may be
a better fit for a student's needs than a traditional program," he said.
"We're very proud that we're able to provide diverse educational choices
for all of our parents and students, rather than a one-size-fits-all
approach. However, the budget cuts may force us to shut off these
opportunities for today'students, the next generation of San Diegans."

The fair is free and open to the public. For more information on the
magnet program, go to

# # #

Jack Brandais
Communications Department
San Diego Unified School District
(619) 725-5570 (Desk)
(619) 607-0477 (Cell)

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