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In my article today, U.S. Rep Bob Filner said it would signify a big change on the San Diego Unified school board if Shelia Jackson, its most frequent dissenter, were elected to the post.

Looks like a big change, at least in Filner’s book: Jackson just got the job with three votes from newly elected board members John Lee Evans and Richard Barrera and from Jackson herself. The board also voted unanimously to appoint Barrera as vice president, who leads meetings in the president’s absence and helps set board meeting agendas.

Beforehand, Barrera and Evans both said they would not want to serve as president, while the three veteran members — Jackson, John de Beck and former board president Katherine Nakamura — each said they would like to serve.

The presidency does not carry dramatic new powers, but it is a barometer of where the new board majority falls. That could prove significant under a controversial superintendent, Terry Grier, as budget cuts loom for the large district. Jackson has been a frequent critic of Grier and his initiatives, and has allied herself with labor groups that are even fiercer critics.

The school board president is charged with leading meetings, setting agendas for meeting, and serving as the official spokesperson of the five-person body.

EMILY ALPERT

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