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What's Next for Outgoing School Board President Dr. Dan Lopez?

The Ramona Unified School Board president says he's moving to Texas for his kids' education.

In the wake of the rejection of Proposition R and the passing of Proposition 30, Ramona Unified School District's School Board President Dr. Dan Lopez is planning to move out of California and into Texas to give his kids the education they deserve.

“My wife and I had decided if Prop R doesn’t pass, we are going to put our house up for sale,” Lopez told Patch. “I’m fearful that the failure of Prop R is going to affect, in the long term, our property values.”

Lopez, who was not re-elected to the board at the Nov. 6 elections, said his family put their house up for sale the day after the failure of Proposition R and plans on moving to Texas, where his brother moved 15 months ago. Lopez said class sizes in the state are at just 16 students; and full-time aids, nurses and librarians are normal, unlike the three-hour techs as seen in California.

“At some point we realize that we can no longer mortgage the future of our children because we like the weather of San Diego,” Lopez said. “That’s really what it came to.”

The former teacher and principal strongly affirmed that his decision to move out of Ramona has nothing to do with the educators in town or the fact that he wasn't re-elected.

“This isn’t about me leaving because the education is poor here,” he said. “Even if I had won the election, I’d still be leaving here in August because of Prop R. I have a great deal of faith and respect for the educators in Ramona.”

Lopez commended the work of RUSD, saying that the job the staff has done over his past four years on the board has been "amazing," despite cut after cut.

“I think that the fact that the board felt it necessary to go out for a school bond in these very difficult financial times for people and ask them for a tax increase shows how dire our needs are in this community,” Lopez said. “Under normal circumstances, there is no way we would’ve gone out for a bond in these time if it wasn’t dire.”

Proposition R was a $66 million general obligation bond program that would've provided funds for building repairs as well as to repay monies the school district previously borrowed in 2004 to pay for the construction of Ramona Community and Hanson Elementary.

With Proposition R, homeowners in the area would've paid a property tax estimated to be approximately $60 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

So what's next for RUSD?

“That’s a really good question,” the outgoing board president said. “I don't know. I’m sure that the current board is going to spend a great deal of time in January at their workshop on just that topic,” he said.

For Lopez and his family, the next step is Texas and a focus on his business, Turn Around Schools, he shares with his brother.

“We work with school districts around the country with staff on how to create a cultural universal achievement," Lopez said of company that was founded in 2006. “A lot of our work revolves around the concept of college readiness.”

Lopez said the company has a network of 140 schools in 22 states that are committed to college readiness in a program known as No Excuses University, including Ramona's James Duke Elementary.

“We are humbled that the very little professional money that schools do have, they choose to spend it with us,” Lopez said.

Lopez said serving on the school board for the past several years was a “big honor” and that he enjoyed every minute of it.

“I truly valued the relationships and warmth of all in the district,” he said, saying he was ready for whatever is ahead of him in the future.

“When God closes one door, he opens another.”

TJ December 04, 2012 at 04:16 AM
"Thanks" for stranding the ship and then running away....
M Workman December 04, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Thank your "friends and neighbors" who bailed on the bond and your kids. Not a man who put his money and sweat where his mouth is. Lip service is cheap. Next up, see if you can do better.
TJ December 04, 2012 at 03:20 PM
So you're saying my neighbors created this mess? If they would have voted yes on this bond (or any of the previous ones) the employees would not have to take 10 furlough days on top of a pay cut?
Erin Bean December 04, 2012 at 04:12 PM
TJ 10Furlough days!! I didn't hear about that, this is insanity. The bus drivers and custodians are getting super raw deals, but the teachers worse. I say we break down the school board,get rid of of it! Its Failing, broken, throw it away! I think we have enough local people with enough brains and ablity to head up the ed center and get this wagon flipped over, with the right people, you know the ones who give a crap because its not about money, its about doing the right thing for our kids. We could have a the best school district in California without putting 50% of our hearts into it.Imagine what could be done if we ran our education system like a business we were investing our life savings in, one we cared about! Oh what a world this could be! Guess what we are invested in the education system, the most important thing we have is invested in it, our future! Our babies! The only thing, after everything is said and done, that matters your children. When your looking at what your have what do you care about most? You TV or your savings account,no! Your children, that's your mark, your brand on this world. Idealistic, I know but what if we really did that? We have the power to do it are there enough people out there who want to?
An Observer December 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM
The school board IS local people. Moms, dads, and grandparents who have a personal investment in our schools. And in case anyone is unsure - not a single member of the school board receives a dime in compensation. It's all voluntary. And Lopez has NOT been the President for four years. Administrator salaries are being spun in every direction, but when it comes down to it, if they haven't had pay cuts, they need to set the example. Teachers absolutely deserve all that they have and more, but in this economy, that just isn't an option. It's not a reflection on their performance, but a reflection on the fact that half of the parents of their students have either been laid off or gotten pay cuts, and the teachers simply can't be immune to the country's economy.
ampm December 04, 2012 at 05:21 PM
“At some point we realize that we can no longer mortgage the future of our children because we like the weather of San Diego,” Lopez said. “That’s really what it came to." What was Prop R? $60.00 for every 100,000.. Give the Lopez boys the education they deserve the rest of us will deal with this mess because "we like the weather"
M Workman December 04, 2012 at 05:26 PM
No TJ. I'm saying those who voted no yet again are responsible for the ongoing demise of the district. And our property values. Aided by those who continue to deny growth of the tax base here by stopping any growth whatsoever. This district isn't hiding money. It's in dire shape. Like I said. Step to the plate with "your" solutions. You can beat the tar out of those who tried. Use your real name and step up.Find real solutions to real issues. If you have a cure that will fix all the problems, we're all *&^%$ ears.
Ramona Real Estate December 04, 2012 at 05:31 PM
The real issue is jobs. We have had declining enrollment for 10 years running honestly because the County of San Diego does not support a strong business environment here in Ramona. The TIF has all but stopped new construction of commercial property while allowing up to 29 dwelling units per acre in town. There has been no improvements to Hwy67 so the commute has become arduous and every commercial project proposed gets slammed by the people in Ramona. When people cannot make a living, they move. The schools rely on enrollment numbers for funding. Here we are folks. Ramona needs jobs.
ampm December 04, 2012 at 05:32 PM
@TJ short and sweet. @observer because teachers chose their profession they are not immune to pay cuts? So what do the future educators have to look forward to?. Are you willing to forfeit your pay? You get what you pay for.
ampm December 04, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Ramona managed to build 2 schools with declining enrollment and we cannot afford them. So lets make every school district employee pay for our mistakes and believing we needed to schools with 10 years of declining enrollment
Ramona Son December 04, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Run Chicken Little to Texas!!!!
A. Einstein December 04, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Weak. So Mr. Lopez's relocation to TX is based on his worry about property values? Sounds like a realtor. Problems in this district go way beyond monetary issues. Elementary schools have been in upheaval for the last 5 years and beyond. We've seen musical chairs in administrators as well as teachers. Music and the arts cut from elementary, dry lessons with the focus becoming test-taking skills (let's practice bubbling today) and scores. There appears to be little concern or value about continuity and teamwork. Teachers seem to be moving grade levels not based on expertise or grade-level curriculum mastery. Schools within the district tend to compete against each other for accolades. Egos and nepotism are rampant. This donkey cart is broken and money isn't going to fix it. Time for a new model and a little housecleaning.
M Workman December 04, 2012 at 06:35 PM
BINGO. We have a winner. There will be TIF relief soon.
M Workman December 04, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Check the timeline, check the economy, then get back to us with your monday morning quarterback theory. If your crystal ball works better, then step to plate. Use your real name and bring ideas to the table.
M Workman December 04, 2012 at 06:44 PM
No Einstein. I believe he, like many others, is giving up on this community's ability to figure it out. Not sure what schools you are observing, but for the most part, the teachers and staff I see work like hell as a team to teach our children. Sure, in survival mode many have changed grades. But we've had a few waves of kids go thru and our K-6 does very well considering the status of the district. Again, Real Estate above nailed it. And you all can throw cute little Chicken Little references out but you're missing the point. Missed opportunity and we're being drained of needed dollars. Plain and simple.
Jane Tanaka MD December 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Meeting for the public, sponsored by Ramona Forum, tomorrow night, Wednesday December 5th, from 6-9 pm, with school board and administratiion giving a brief presentation first, then opening it up to questions on these issues . Will you all be there?
Jane Tanaka MD December 04, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Addendum.. Meeting will be at the Ramona Library. This was arranged by Mr Dave Patterson.
MARY STYRES December 05, 2012 at 01:04 AM
GOOD RIDDANCE, IT'S GUYS LIKE HIM WHO BAIL WHEN HIS BEST INTERESTS ARE NOT FULFILLED AND DOES'NT KNOW HOW TO STICK IT OUT THRU THICK N THIN. THEN BRINGS OUR LORD GOD INTO IT.......PLEEEEZE !!
Jane Tanaka MD December 05, 2012 at 03:35 AM
By the way, I dont know Dr Dan Lopez personally, but I do know many of his former students from Abraxas High School in Poway. . He helped turn many of these kids around. He was a great mentor , teacher and principal to them. Dr Lopez may not have been able to turn around RUSD as school board president, but he did a fine job with some of the toughest adolescents I know. My impression, based on reports of these students, who can spot insincerity a mile away, is that he was truly dedicated and cared about them. I dont want to make this sound like a eulogy.. but shouldnt we express gratitude and good wishes to someone who atleast tried to help our community during a very tough time... instead of saying dont let the door hit you on the bum on your way out of Ramona? Our town does have more class than that.
M Workman December 05, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I disagree Mary. How long to you risk your children's education before you act to improve it? I say before you fall behind. "Does'nt" should be "doesn't" Most of us Mary, live our lives to do well by our children. At least half this community has given up on our children.
M Workman December 05, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Thanks Jane for helping make my point more effectively. He IS dedicated.
A.M. December 05, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Workman, so you don't think we have had declining enrollment here in Ramona for the last 10 years or so? We are now at about the same enrollment as the late 90s. Monday morning quarterbacking haha. And we obviously have the money to pay the loans for the schools. My crystal ball is pretty good prove me wrong. Get enrollment numbers from district lets say 1998 till 2010 :). Never know I could be wrong.
Concerned in Ramona January 24, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Has anyone questioned if school board approval was required to utilize Dr. Lopez' "No Excuses University" program at James Dukes? And whether he benefited financially from it? Even though he's no longer on the school board, it seems worthwhile to look into his votes and how they may have been swayed by such conflicts of interest.

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