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.”