There are a whole lot of interesting things on the agenda for the Tuesday school board meeting, many of them proposed by school board members. Here is a quick roundup:

  • You know the old saying about prayer in schools? The president of the San Diego Unified school board wants to extend it to school board meetings. Shelia Jackson is interested in adding a moment of silence or a prayer that rotates among religious groups before board meetings, as the City Council does, and is asking the school board to discuss the idea. “It would help us start out in the right frame of mind,” Jackson said. “It was something our country was founded on.”
  • Jackson is also cosponsoring a proposal with school board member Katherine Nakamura to create a policy that makes lobbyists register in San Diego Unified. Nakamura became worried about the lack of such a policy during the uproar over a project labor agreement on the new facilities bond. Los Angeles Unified, the only district in the state that is larger than San Diego Unified, already has such a policy.
  • Member John Lee Evans is proposing a resolution against weapons training in schools. Some schools have air rifle ranges as part of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program. This has been a touchy subject.
  • Evans is also proposing to re-evaluate the amount of required testing and to provide extra services to schools that lost federal money for disadvantaged students when the school board raised the poverty threshold for getting the funds. His motion suggests that the money to help those schools could come from the federal stimulus package. The change would benefit schools where between 40 and 59 percent of students qualify for free or reduced price lunches.
  • Nakamura and school board member Richard Barrera are also putting up a resolution to recognize folk singer and songwriter Pete Seeger. I would call them and find out what brought this about but I think I like the suspense even better.

This is only a sampling of items on the agenda — the board is also formalizing the spending freeze and taking up a possible golden handshake for employees. It promises to be a long meeting — which means there will definitely be prayer at the press table.

EMILY ALPERT

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