One of the most striking results of Proposition 13 in 1978 was how it silenced school playgrounds in the afternoon. Without money to pay for recreation leaders, cities and schools were forced to put balls, fingerpaints and volleyball nets back in the closet.
On Monday, however, the San Diego City Council took a major step toward reversing that trend when, at the urging of Mayor Maureen O’Connor, who once worked as a recreation leader, it approved reinstating after-school recreation programs at 48 schools throughout the city.
The recreation programs, which council members hope will provide children an alternative to television, drugs and gangs, were a building block of O’Connor’s mayoral campaign earlier this year.
At her insistence, the City Council in July approved adding $300,000 to the Park and Recreation Department’s budget to pay for the after-school recreation plan. The program will begin Monday.
Before Proposition 13, which severely cut property taxes, after-school recreation programs were a tradition not only in San Diego but throughout the state. The historic property tax-cutting initiative, authored by Paul Gann and the late Howard Jarvis, forced reductions in many city and school programs.
In San Diego, the recreation program shrank from a high of 96 schools to none by 1982.
After the increase in the Park and Recreation Department’s budget, the city staff contacted the San Diego Unified, Chula Vista, Poway, San Ysidro and South Bay Union school districts, all of which have schools in San Diego. All greeted the chance to renew after-school recreation programs with enthusiasm, according to a report by the city manager’s office.
The schools were selected based on enrollment, population density and the lack of recreation and child-care programs at or near the schools.
Most of the 48 schools are concentrated in the Mid-City, Southeast, South San Diego, Mira Mesa, Serra Mesa and Linda Vista areas of San Diego, although all parts of the city are represented among the 48 schools. All are elementary schools except for two junior high schools.
The 48 schools selected by the City Council:
San Diego Unified: Bird Rock, Barnard, Silvergate, Birney, Hamilton, Mann, Marshall, McKinley, Rolando Park, Webster, Wilson, Audubon, Balboa, Boone, Emerson, Horton, Knox, Lee, Paradise Hills, Penn, Perry, Valencia Park, Angier, Chesterton, Ericson, Hickman, Jerabek, Johnson, Juarez, Walker, Mason, Miramar Ranch, Bay View Terrace, Lafayette, Chollas, Gage, Miller, Lowell, Dailard and Washington.
Chula Vista School District: Finney and Los Altos schools.
South Bay Union district: Nestor and Sunny Slope.
Poway district: Sundance and Sunset Hills.
San Ysidro district: Sunset and Smythe.