Others struggle to achieve what we take for granted

By Jay Schenirer City Council Member District 5

This past month, through my non-City Council “pay the mortgage” work, I spent three days visiting the 5,000 student San Ysidro School District at the U.S. border with Mexico.

It is an impoverished district with more than its share of challenges over the past decade, including nine superintendents in the past five years and board members accused and convicted of corruption that helped drain the financial coffers of the organization. Thankfully, the district seems to be on the path to recovery, with its leadership focusing all its current efforts on student supports and achievement.

While in San Ysidro, we had the privilege to meet and hear from several students who have overcome remarkable challenges just to get to school every day. These students and their families, citizens of the United States, have been forced to move from San Diego to Tijuana due to of the high cost of housing.

Because of their desire and determination to continue to receive a U.S. education, these students rise every day at 4 a.m. to make it through the border crossing, get on the San Diego trolley, transfer to a bus, and then walk the remaining distance to get to school on time. After a full day of classes and studying, the routine reverses itself, and the students generally arrive at their homes around 8 p.m. This is all done in the name of receiving a quality education, something many take for granted.

So why am I telling Viewpoint readers about students 500 miles from Curtis Park and Sacramento? I believe that it’s important for us every so often to step back and take stock of the abundance of what we have and appreciate what surrounds us.

Our office receives hundreds of emails and calls each week, with complaints ranging from a trash can that was not picked up, to a Jump Bike or Gig Car parked in front of their house, to homeless encampments in their neighborhoods. While we do our best to prioritize these calls and do everything we can to meet the needs of all our District 5 constituents, given limited staff and resources, we simply can’t get to everything in the timely manner we would like.

I write this column as Thanksgiving approaches, a time when I hope we can all reflect and appreciate what we have. Among those things are a great neighborhood and community, and a city that is working continuously to improve and provide the programs and services you all desire and need.

My hope is that we can support one another in facing the challenges before us, with an understanding that we need to work together to make Sacramento the city and community we all want.

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