Thursday, April 09, 2009

Chula Vista's ballot information on Prop A is misleading

The sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet we received with the Official Ballot regarding Proposition A, is very misleading. The pamphlet states on p. 4, that Proposition A would among other points:

"MAINTAIN after-school programs like STRETCH and DASH that keep kids away from drugs, gangs and crime." In fact, There is a pamphlet in the mailbox today in favor of prop. A, in which, among others, Patricia Aguilar, President of Crossroads II, states: "Prop. A will ........ maintain after school programs that give kids alternatives to gangs and drugs."

I have contacted Patricia Aguilar to ask her to specify exactly what after school programs will be maintained with prop. A. I'm waiting to hear from her.

Several weeks ago, the city of Chula Vista officially handed over the running of the after school programs in the 33 elementary schools where DASH and STRETCH is operating today to the YMCA as of the new school year starting in July. Nancy Kerwin, the Executive Director of Student, Family, and Community Services and Support, called me before the March 10th district meeting and told me that even if Prop. A passed, it wouldn't be nearly enough to save DASH and STRETCH. In fact, the money first goes into the general fund and is then dispersed down the totem pole. DASH and STRETCH are towards the bottom of that pole, besides, the City no longer has a say. When they withdrew their funds, they lost their voice.

The district has already officially voted to 'seamlessly transfer' the said programs to the YMCA. They have already contacted parents in multiple ways just to inform us that all is saved even without the tax initiative.

To date, the transition thus far has been anything but seamless. Some principals are pulling in DASH and STRETCH staff to tell them that they won't be here next year. Teachers are congratulating the two time award winning staff, only it's not for a job well done for these past ten years, it's for being saved. Only thing is, they haven't been saved. Children are confused and crying to their coaches, giving of their own money in an attempt to save these programs, while trusting parents are being carefully misled. We are tired of being misled.

I feel it is very important that the thousands of families whose children attend DASH and STRETCH, and others who support them, know all the facts before deciding whether to vote Yes or No on Proposition A. After all, we are the one’s paying the price with more than just our wallets.

Elisa Betancourt


No comments: