A push for a bigger San Diego Unified school board with full-time duties fizzled at a City Council committee meeting last week.

The plan, submitted by attorney John Stump, would restructure the school board to look like the City Council. Instead of five school board members, there would be eight. Instead of electing the school board citywide in the general election, each member would be elected from their individual district, as are City Council members.

And their pay would be the same as City Council: full-time salaries instead of part-time pay. School board member Shelia Jackson showed me her monthly pay stub today: about $1,312 after taxes.

“It doesn’t make the seat available for working-class people,” Jackson said, adding that she takes substitute teaching jobs in other school districts to pay her bills.

Stump said that citywide elections are prohibitively expensive for school board candidates, discourage local representation from neighborhoods, and magnify the influence of groups such as political parties and employee unions that are needed to fund campaigns.

“For the inner city, it’s a disaster,” Stump said. “For La Jolla, it’s wonderful.”

Council members took no action at a committee meeting last Wednesday, saying that the school board itself should petition for any changes.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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