Boy grabs attention of Poway Unified board: Families upset over new school they can't attend

Design 39 will be district's newest school

POWAY, Calif. - A 7-year-old boy took on a school board Tuesday night, upset over not being able to join his friends at what will be the Poway Unified School District's newest school.

"I don't deserve being left out," said the first grader, named Jeremy.

He says he is sad that he cannot go to the new K-8 school which is being built about a thousand yards from his home.

It is called Design 39, since it is the 39th school in the Poway Unified School District.  It is supposed to be completed by summer. A lottery will take place to determine which school children will get to go there.

But Jeremy will most likely not be one of them because the Mello-Roos taxes – or taxes that his parents pay each year for neighborhood infrastructure – are not going toward the construction of the Design 39 school.

"Many of my friends can go to the new school but I can't even though I live closer to them. That does not make sense," Jeremy added.

Parents in his neighborhood feel left out too.

"I have had two schools now that are within walking distance from my house that my children have not been allowed to go to," concerned parent Patrick Duggan told the board.

The Poway Unified School District board says their hands are tied because of the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act, pointing out that no state funds were used to build the $56 million school.

"I get it. I know you live close to the school but when you say it's not fair to create something new and not let everybody have a shot, we have 30,000 other kids in this district who don't have a shot," added John Collins, the superintendent of the Poway Unified School District.

Jeremy just wants his shot.

"Please let me go to the new school," he said to the applause of parents and students in the board room.

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