Preuss school bus funds cut

    After recent state funding cuts did away with The Preuss Schoolís transportation, The Jack in the Box Foundation led a rally on Sept. 26 in celebration of their recent donation of $25,000 to pay for the lease of a school bus.

    Rachel A. Garcia/Guardian
    Back of the bus: Students at Preuss School arrive on a new bus donated by the Jack in the Box Foundation. The school needs 11 more buses.

    Each bus will cost the school $22,000 to lease per school year, and Preuss requires 13 buses to transport the entire student body. Some of the students comes from as far as San Ysidro, and must pay for a one-hour trolley ride every morning to their bus stop, after which they must ride for a second hour to reach the school.

    “”Iím from National City, and thereís no way I could get to school without the buses,”” said Nancy Sandoval, a senior at the Preuss School who is currently interning at Scripps Institute of Oceanography with hopes of attending UCSD next fall. “”When I found out [about the transportation cut] I thought the school might shut down because everyone takes the bus.””

    The funding for Preuss buses comes from the district, which was devastated by Californiaís massive $857 million cut in educational funding last year. Preuss transportation was one of the first casualties.

    Rachel A. Garcia/Guardian
    Wheels go round: Associated Student Body President Michele Valdez speaks on Sept. 27 at the inauguration of the first bus donated to the Preuss School.

    Thus, the school must lease buses every year until a long-term solution is reached.

    The Sept. 26 rally was held in front of the Preuss School campus, where a bus draped in banners proclaiming “”Jackís Bus”” was parked, filled with waving Preuss students.

    The primary speaker was Jack in the Boxís spokesperson, Jack. The sphere-head took the podium next to the schoolís principal and director, Doris Alvarez, and Associated Student Body President Michele Valdez.

    “”Iím going to call this Jackís bus,”” he said. “”Does anyone have a problem with that? … Now Iíd like to christen this bus ó but forget the champagne.””

    He held up a Jack in the Box milkshake and brandished it at the crowd. Then he made his way over to the bus and slammed it into the back, so that the shake splattered.

    The Preuss chorus class also took the stage and sang in front of the new bus.

    Valdez spoke briefly about Preussís academic quality.

    “”Without our buses, many of the students would not be able to receive the unique education the school has to offer,”” she said.

    The Preuss School, located on the UCSD campus by the East parking lot, is a public school dedicated to providing a high-quality education to low-income students in sixth through 12th grades. Students are chosen by lottery from families who have never been to college.

    Preuss’ academic accomplishments rate the school 10 out of 10 among schools with similar demographics. The current 2004 class will be the first to graduate from the school.

    “”The quality of education at Preuss literally changes lives,”” said Kathy Kovacevich, director of the Jack in the Box Foundation. “”We hope that our donation will inspire other corporations to step forward with donations of their own.””

    The Jack in the Box Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded by Jack in the Box restaurants, employees and franchises, and is partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters. The foundation, in turn, sponsors a number of other nonprofit organizations in the 17 states Jack in the Box restaurants are located in.

    Besides sponsoring the Preuss School, the foundation also sponsors local organizations such as YMCA of San Diego County, Junior Achievement and the San Diego Hospice.

    The Jack in the Box Foundation was the first to donate enough funding to lease a bus. Ann Evans from the Evans hotel chain has also purchased a bus for the school, but with 11 more buses to lease, there is still a long way to go.

    According to Alvarez, the school is looking into long-term solutions and trying to find endowments. However, at this time, the money is coming out of the remainder of the school’s budget, cutting books and extra programs, to the extent that there will be no reserve next year.

    “”Others have expressed interest, but they havenít yet come forward,”” Alvarez said. “”We will have to do this every year. Every year until we find another way.””

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