The Morning Report
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San Diego school trustees are skeptical that principals are honestly accounting for the textbooks they receive. And whether they are or not — and who’s at fault — will likely be aired only in closed session.
Tuesday night, the trustees sounded off after hearing a glowing report from Jennifer Cheatham, executive director of curriculum and instruction, on textbook distribution. Cheatham said every San Diego student had been provided a textbook as required by the Williams Act, a major settlement that requires equal textbook provision for all students. Principals are responsible for signing off to show that the school has been adequately supplied.
“You didn’t look at Morse (High School),” trustee Shelia Jackson said. “When people come to me this past Sunday and say they don’t have a book for their child, that concerns me. … I want to know who’s held accountable. What happens to a principal who signs and say they have all their materials, and they don’t?”
Cheatham said a complaint procedure was in place for parents, but Jackson countered that frustrated parents more frequently resort to calling board members, instead of filing a formal complaint.
Superintendent Carl Cohn said the “accountability fallout” would be discussed in closed session. Trustee Katherine Nakamura later explained that Cohn would be giving a presentation about textbook supplies, and accountability for principals. When she was a teacher, she said, she often heard district staff report that textbooks had been supplied, even when her own classrooms lacked them.
“I’m not voting for it this time,” she said.
Nakamura was the only trustee to vote against approving Cheatham’s report.