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Tuesday June 26, 2007 | It was ever thus: The annual budget for San Diego Unified School District has always been as opaque to board members and the public as it is this year. The difference this year is merely cosmetic: There hasn’t been the numerous ritual early public “discussions” of the undecipherable tome.

It doesn’t take criticism from the San Diego County Taxpayers’ Association (no friend to any government agency) to make the point, and no, I don’t think anyone is trying to “hide” something.

As a former member of the School Board, I pressed for a system of zero-based budget-building and I was grateful for the contribution of Buzz Woolley and his Girard Foundation to find a more transparent and democratic way to prepare and present public school budgets. Both he and I were unsuccessful then, but maybe now it’s an idea whose time has come.

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