Friday, Jan. 4, 2008 | Yesterday we learned from education reporter Emily Alpert that federal Title 1 money intended for poor San Diego Unified public school students was raided in 2004 to pay for ex-Superintendent Alan Bersin’s famous “golden handshake” retirements for 1500 people at the school district. (For the record, I recall no Board conversation at that time ever explicitly detailing such an arrangement and, if there had been, I and others surely would have voted against it. As I remember, it was all part of a murky budget deliberation — a process that was then and still is much too opaque.)
Unfortunately, voiceofsandiego.org did not mention that this occurred on Bersin’s watch. Now, four years later, the matter is being reviewed and remedies are being disputed by both the state of California and the federal government. VoSD also didn’t name the brave school district accountant who allegedly warned Bersin et al. repeatedly to ask permission to use federal money in this irregular way. It will be interesting to see how this issue is resolved, what with Bersin’s continuing pull in Sacramento as Schwarzenegger’s appointee to the state Board of Education.
Now today we learn in the Union-Tribune that Bersin is trolling and polling to see if there is sufficient interest in his running for public office against City Attorney Mike Aguirre. Do we want an insider city attorney who, along with his wealthy family, have numerous land interests in redevelopment areas of downtown and at the Otay border? Do we want, for our city attorney a person with a terrible track record at the public schools where toxic fallout is still raining down from his administration?
I guess the people will decide in due course.