Jan Meyer California 0

Del Obispo Dragons Shall Remain

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As you stroll around Del Obispo Elementary School, there are beautifully designed ceramic tiles, created by families, students and teachers who have graced the halls of the school. Built in 1974, Del Obispo Elementary was built as a community school but it has evolved into so much more. It has become a family, which these tiles are a testament to. Original teachers who have long since retired continue to substitute teach there; alumni have returned to the neighboring communities so that their children can partake in the elementary school experience that they've remembered with fondness. Del Obispo Elementary School is a generational school.

For the 2015-2016 school year, Del Obispo Elementary School has a current enrollment of 375 which continues to grow with each passing day. This school, so rich in history, talent and potential is being considered as a permanent school site for Community Roots Academy charter school, which currently shares a campus with Wood Canyon Elementary School located in Aliso Viejo. If chosen, Del Obispo Elementary would be closed and Community Roots Academy would move in.

What’s wrong with that, you might ask. We will tell you. Currently, Del Obispo has the very unique experience of sharing a campus with Marco Forster Middle School. Students who attend Del Obispo transition across a walkway to their middle school and the middle school students cross that same walkway on their way to their community service opportunities that having an elementary school so close provides. Many students who attend Del Obispo Elementary School walk to school, some do so out of convenience but there are many who do so out of necessity. Currently, traffic officers patrol the neighboring areas dolling out tickets to parents who, lacking a spot to park, park along red curbs or permit neighborhoods to walk their students to school across busy Camino Del Avion. By closing Del Obispo and replacing it with Community Roots Academy, that unique experience alluded to above will be gone without the ability to replicate it elsewhere. Traffic, which is already bad, will be even worse because the number of families who will be converging onto Del Obispo will nearly triple its current state. Increased traffic also increases the risk of accidents. Parents who have no choice but to walk will be placed in the difficult situation of securing transportation for their children. Additionally, those parents will be even more disadvantaged with regard to being involved participants in their student’s education.

Additionally, Marco Forster, not a party to this whole situation, will be left to deal with the negative effects. Increased traffic volume, loss of their community service and leadership programs for their students as well as having to share their facilities with a school to which there will be no options for reciprocity.

Closing Del Obispo Elementary School is an AWFUL idea, and it is one that we do not wish to suffer. Protect your neighborhood generational elementary school. Protect your right to be involved in your students’ lives without additional hassles being placed on you. Protect your community’s right to not be burdened with more chaos, traffic and dangerous situations. Protect your child’s right to walk to school.

Sign our petition to save our school and say no CUSD!

Also, send your comments and questions to the Board of Trustees at delocommunityfeedback@cusd.org. Tell the Board why Del Obispo should remain open. Thank you!

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