Updated: Jul 12, 2022
June 8, 2022
President Leon-Vazquez and Honorable Boardmembers:
As you are aware, Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) has for two decades successfully advocated for tens of millions of dollars annually of local funding for both operational and capital expenditures for SMMUSD.
However, as our name implies, we are not just about providing financial resources for local public education – we care deeply about the ways in which our schools build communities and bring together neighborhoods.
To that end, we urge you to assure that a neighborhood school remains onsite once remediation and rebuilding are completed at the Muir/SMASH campus. Consequently, we are grateful that Superintendent Drati and boardmembers affirmed the district’s commitment to this goal at your June 6th meeting.
We won’t pretend we have the solutions to the complex challenges ahead of you as you endeavor to reduce the impacts of relocation on students and to address the problems at this campus. However, we feel strongly that kids should be able to walk to school: the air and exercise makes them better learners; carbon emissions and traffic congestion are reduced; and the merging of students and parents on foot at a school entrance builds community in a manner not possible via the isolation of a drop off by car.
Furthermore, current land use policy emphasizes what’s known as placemaking, the creation of physical public assets which serve to bring citizens together to interact with one another. The Muir/SMASH campus is just such a place, one in which events during and after school bring together neighbors, so please understand its value to the residents of Ocean Park.
Let’s fix it and make it an even better neighborhood school.