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Open Letter Re: SDUHSD ATP Trailers

To: The San Diego Regional Center The Solana Beach City Council Re: San Dieguito Unified School District - Adult Transition Program for Disabled Students There’s been a lot of recent attention on the San Dieguito Unified School District’s (SDUHSD) decision as to how and where they have chosen permanently to place the Adult Transition Program (ATP) for the fall of 2017 going forward. A simple Google search can bring you up to speed. When you hear and read about all the goings on regarding this situation I ask that you please keep at the forefront of this heated conversation who (not what) this is really all about. It’s about young disabled adults, aged 18-22, who have 4 years left before they age out of the school district services. For many of us parents who have been steadfastly and passionately advocating for our children over the past 18 years or more the next 4 years are our last chance in equipping them for whatever lies ahead in the “real world.”

This is all we have left from where we started so many, many years ago. We are nearing the finish line. The district’s transition program can either work with us to empower our children so that they can become contributing members of society or warehouse them and wait for the day they can spit them out to the agencies next in line – a burden on society.

When I saw the pictures of where my son, James, was to attend the Adult Transition Program this coming fall, I was stunned. You must simply see the pictures for yourself to really be able to have a sense of the shock I felt. (See Attachment in email with this letter.) My kid… there?

Duped. That’s how I feel. I am a proud and grateful resident of Solana Beach. I voted for Prop AA. I pay my taxes. For the past 2 years I’ve driven up and down Lomas Santa Fe watching the amazing progress on the Earl Warren campus where James attended school from 2011 – 2013. I would marvel and relish the thought that somewhere amidst all that glorious construction was a special area selected just for our ATP students. Magnificent classrooms with state-of-the-art technology awaited my son, James, after he left Torrey Pines High School in June 2017.

But the reality is that the district’s provision for the transitioning disabled students of the district was nothing but a hasty, last minute, reckless purchase of portable warehouse space in May of 2017. I muse and wonder what the month of April 2017 must have been like:

Hey…so what’s that empty spot over there on the master construction plan? The one marked “future classrooms” with no classrooms? Oh, yeah, that’s supposed to be for something called ATP. What’s ATP? Adult Transition Program – something for disabled kids after they leave high school – not that big of a deal.

Hmm, well, gosh, we sort of left that blank all these years. How come we never asked Lionakis to include construction for that in their $2,211,976.00 architectural/engineering designs? Doesn’t school starts in 3 months?

Yeah, so what should we do about them? What to do?? Hey! Let’s call Class Leasing and buy 2 used construction trailers for $445,822.78 and dump them on that spot. Those kids won’t know the difference between floor to ceiling glass walls and vinyl-sided panels. Besides, there’s gonna be a wall between them and the middle school. We can put some plants up and stuff. (See minutes of Board Meeting 05-11-2017 attached to email with this letter.)

That the district approved and implemented this decision to provide our disabled students with used trailers for classrooms while providing such an elaborate, well-planned and generously funded campus for the Earl Warren Middle School speaks volumes about how they value their obligation to educate our disabled kids. (Think Shark Tales – “there’s whale poop - and then there’s you.”) And if this is the amount of thought they put into where our students will spend there academic day – imagine how much thought they have put into an appropriate curriculum which is suppose to include a meaningful education including genuine vocational skills? I continue to commute daily up and down Lomas Santa Fe. This insult smacks with an even nastier, bitter sting as I now follow the progress of SkyLine Elementary being leveled and rebuilt. Amazing how fast things can happen when there is a concerted and dedicated focus. Why don’t our kids deserve the same?

I am asking for your help to help us parents resolve this issue by calling upon the school district to urgently and diligently work with us NOW to make this right. Our students need the school district to call an emergency board meeting within the next week which is open to the public and in which parent and community input will be welcomed and incorporated. Time is of the essence and there is much to be done.

What happens here in the city of Solana Beach within the San Dieguito School District boundaries will impact us all within the near future and for generations to come. This is about educating and equipping our disabled youth so they can become life-long productive adults. Please decide to make a difference today. Please do not look the other way. Make that phone call, send out the email, write that letter or pass this one on.

I thank you in advance for all your support.

Mary Turk James Walker’s mom – entering SDUHSD ATP Fall 2017 Resources:

  1. Photos of Trailers vs. Earl Warren New Construction

  2. Board Meeting Minutes 05-22-2017

  3. White Paper - What Would You Do if You Lived in a Shoe?

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