A month into the new fiscal year, funding for three controversial San Diego Unified School District programs will continue to remain frozen until August, district staff members told the school board today.

When the school board approved the budget in June, board members halted spending on a proposed truancy-prevention center, 40 new school landscapers and a new ROTC program at Mission Bay High School to review the programs in July. But this week, the board learned that its meeting agenda had listed only a “discussion” on the program — instead of an actual vote. If the trustees went ahead and made a final decision, General Counsel Ted Buckley warned, they risked running afoul of state open-meeting laws.

District staff offered no explanation for why the vote was not included on the agenda. The school system’s chief administrative officer, José Betancourt, said his understanding was that the board wanted to merely talk about the controversial budget items, not actually vote on them — though he acknowledged that the money allocated for the programs remained frozen until the board made a final decision.

However, Monday’s discussion left few mysteries about where individual board members came down on the issues, suggesting that all programs would be approved Aug. 7, the trustee’s next regularly scheduled meeting.


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