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May 20, 2009 > Join the fight for schools

Join the fight for schools

Most people are surprised when I tell them what it was like going to school in the 1960s. A dirt path led across orchards to my school, Evergreen Elementary - at that time the only school in the Evergreen district. Eventually, I transferred to St Mary's School in downtown San Jose - it only took me a carpool and two buses to get there and home every day - and after that Bellarmine, Santa Clara, U.C. Davis, and Lincoln Law. But it was worth it. I had a great educational experience and made a promise to myself pretty early on to always remain active in promoting education in the community.

Eight years on the East Side Union High School Board of Trustees during the '90's was a great opportunity. While on the board, I was fortunate to work on new partnerships with parents, create innovative programs, require more rigorous curricula, reduce the dropout rate, and help build the first new high school in Santa Clara County in 25 years.

When I joined the San Jose City Council in 2001, I wanted to continue working closely on education issues. Fortunately there was a growing grassroots interest in District 8 - residents from Evergreen, East Hills and Silver Creek all sharing a common value to fight for education funding. A group of residents asked me to take them up to Sacramento so they could meet with the Governor's Office, the Secretary of Education and our legislative delegation, in person, to lobby for funding for our schools. This has since become an important annual trip and our attendance has grown and diversified in the last six years.

This year's trip, cosponsored by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, could not come at a more critical time. Economic times are tough. There are six measures on the ballot May 19th - each of which could have significant effects on our youth in different ways.

According to California Legislative Analyst's Office (http://www.lao.ca.gov), if propositions 1A and 1B fail, public education will lose out on $9.3 billion. In addition, local governments have little to nothing to spare for youth services. I truly believe that the greatest impact on elected officials comes when their constituents take the time out of their busy day to go to Sacramento and meet with them face to face.

I would like to invite anyone that has a child in public schools, works in public schools, or just strongly feels that education is an important asset to our children's future to join us in lobbying our state leaders. Just like in years past, this bus trip is free of cost to participants. My only request is that you have the desire to make a difference in the lives of our future generation and are willing to make the commitment to speak to your elected officials in Sacramento.

This year's event will take place on June 1st. We will board the bus at 6 a.m. from the Eastridge parking lot and once we arrive in Sacramento, we'll convene in a beautiful committee room in the Capitol Building and do intense Q&A with our Assembly Members and Senators. Lunch will be provided free and attendees will be fully briefed on the topics for the day.

As an added encouragement, we will be offering a "participating organization" status to any community group that pledges to send five or more members on the bus trip. Participating organizations will be featured on all trip literature and in our correspondence to the legislators.

If you would like more information, please visit www.supervisorcortese.org and click on the Sacramento Bus Trip page or call my office at (408) 299-5030 for details. If you are interested in participating as an individual or group, please email Lara McCabe at lara.mccabe@bos.sccgov.org or ask for her when you call my office. In order to ensure we have enough transportation, an RSVP to Lara is required to attend.

I am looking forward to another successful trip, which will make a difference for our schools. I truly believe that we must ensure that our schools provide our children the best possible education so that they can grow up to be our future leaders. I encourage you to join me in that mission and get on the bus to Sacramento.

As always, my office is open to you. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me at dave.cortese@bos.sccgov.org or by phone at (408) 299-5030.

Dave Cortese
Santa Clara County
District 3 Supervisor

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