Thursday, May 29, 2003
MPUSD Education Foundation Launches
A group of educators, parents, and local mayors has formed the Education Foundation of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, in order to alleviate recent pressures on schools relating to state budget cuts.
Board member and former Monterey High School teacher Terri DeBono hopes that the group will raise funds to replace programs that are being eliminated from local schools.
"We formed because of all the things that have been cut," she says. "The objective is to improve and supplement the students' learning experience--whether its core curriculum or extra curricular activities."
DeBono points out that the music program has already been removed from Monterey elementary schools, school library hours are being cut back, and that the speech program has been taken away from Seaside High.
At a May 22 reception for the Education Foundation at the Monterey Museum of Art, DeBono invited students to speak about the impact of losing such programs from the school curriculum.
"The kids in the speech program say the program is outstanding," she says. "It turned their lives around. This is what we're about--if it's outstanding. How do we get it back?"
DeBono says that the group raised $1,500 at its first meeting, and is in the beginning stages of planning larger fundraising events, including revamping a twenty-year-old fall gala known as the Jumping Pumpkins, started by Sylvia Panetta.
"It was dissolved and we are trying to pick up that hole and fill it up with energy and finances so we can help the schools," she says. "We just started basically last Wednesday to tell people, here we are, and watch out for us now, because we are going to ask for help. We've got a lot of people on our side: mayors and principals from a lot of different schools. Education is in a dire need and people need to recognize that with financial support." [BW]
Quality of Life Report
Tellus/Diganos, a non-profit organization for community research, will unveil its 2003 Adult Quality of Life report on Friday, May 30, at 9am at the National Steinbeck Center. The report highlights changes in the county's adult population over the last decade.
The non-profit was founded in 1995 by the Monterey County Health and Social Services departments, in collaboration with area hospitals. Last year, Tellus/Diganos issued an assessment of the well-being of the county's children. This year's report documents the changes wrought by the county's ten-year, 13 percent population growth. Among other things, the report documents the fact that the "self-sufficiency wage"--the amount of money required by an adult--has gone up by almost a third. There is not all bad news here; the crime rate in the county has plunged 25 percent between 1996 and 2001.
Assemblyman Simon Salinas will deliver the keynote address at Friday's event. [ST]