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Cluster group gathering forces for schools rally

Members of the La Jolla Cluster Association are stepping up their role in mobilizing local school supporters to get involved.

The group, which is working to serve as a unified voice for La Jolla’s five public schools, announced last week that they would charter a bus to Balboa Park for Saturday’s “Rally for Our Schools.” They have also organized their own school board candidate forum for 6:30 p.m. May 13 at La Jolla High School. The three Area C candidates — incumbent John deBeck, budget analyst Scott Barnett and school psychologist Michelle Crisci — have been invited.

Fran Shimp, the cluster parent representative who has been spearheading involvement in the rally, said in an email that “a lot of people think the budget cuts are the district’s fault when in fact it’s Sacramento who determines how much money is spent on education. California is almost dead last nationwide in terms of per-pupil spending for public schools.

“It’s obvious that education is NOT a top priority for our state legislatures and that has to change,” she added. ‘This rally needs to be big enough to make an impact on Sacramento. They need to hear us loud and clear — no more cuts!”

Saturday’s 10 a.m. event is being put together by a coalition of parents, teachers, students and community leaders that calls itself Educate for the Future. Their website says the event is their way of fighting cuts in the state’s education systems that are funneling down to San Diego Unified in the form of cuts in the length of the school year as well as programs and supplies.

The school board recently unanimously endorsed the event. School board president Richard Barerra recently told KUSI News that they are “hoping to get thousands of parents, teachers and students out to the park with one clear, simple message and teacher out with one simple message, “No more cuts.”

The rally will be held at the Sixth Street and Laurel Avenue entrance to the park. The timing was designed to get the message heard before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger releases the latest revisions to his budget proposal. The cluster’s bus that will leave from the Muirlands Middle School parking lot, but sign-ups are requested at

www.lajollacluster.com

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Details about Educate for the Future and the rally can be found

educate4future.org

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Watch the May 13 La Jolla Light for profiles on the District C candidates and previews to what they might say at the La Jolla Cluster Association candidate forum that night. The event is set for the Parker Auditorium at La Jolla High, 750 Nautilus St.