Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Community Voices: Vote Yes on Proposition E

I am a teacher at Coronado High School and also a proud alumnus, Class of 1997. Like many other locals, my parents also grew up here and attended the Coronado schools. I discovered a lifelong passion for music and the arts through our school system. My senior year of high school was the pilot year of the award-winning Coronado School of the Arts conservatory. There were only a handful of us in the music program, but we each received a top-notch educational experience, with courses in music theory, composition, and small chamber ensembles. One year of CoSA gave me the confidence and ability to continue my studies in music at the University of Southern California. I was amazed at how much more I knew compared to my college classmates – nearly all had come from traditional school band, choir, and orchestra programs that offered little beyond learning to play the notes on the page.

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After several years of working as a musician in Los Angeles and Nashville, I was offered the chance to be the music director for CoSA and CHS. It was a no-brainer, and I jumped at the opportunity despite considerable less pay compared to most school districts across the county. My administrators instilled complete trust in me to build the program I envisioned. Seven years later, we are living that vision. I have had several students go on to study music at schools such as Northwestern, Berklee College of Music, USC, UCLA, Ohio State, and DePaul University. Many are local kids who, like me, grew up on the island and began playing music at Village or CMS, but this unique program also allowed us to enroll top talent from neighborhoods across the bridge.

In addition to CoSA, we offer students engineering, biotech, sports medicine, ceramics, and several other hands-on career based courses taught by some of the most talented and dedicated individuals I have ever met. We are continuing to grow, and have done so despite pay cuts, furlough days, and budget slashing as a result of the Great Recession.

Sacramento’s new Local Control Funding Formula puts my program and others like it in complete jeopardy. Prop E is the only viable alternative. I support our Superintendent and school board when they say that we cannot cut ourselves out of this mess. Let’s do our part to ensure that future generations continue to reap the rewards of a Coronado education as I did and continue to do. Please vote YES on Prop E!

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