Ideas for spending federal stimulus money in San Diego Unified are already generating debate.

One idea presented to a parent committee last week was spending $4.5 million on a consultant to train school site councils and instructional teams in “school planning.” It is one in a long list of proposals, not yet approved by the school board, that have been floated as uses for an estimated $34 million earmarked for disadvantaged children that the school district expects to receive over two years.

The idea has its detractors. David Page, who chairs the committee, wrote a letter to San Diego Unified staffers late last week arguing that training was not what was needed and consultants were a poor use of the funds:

It is the lack of day to day oversight and visibility of [programs for children in poverty] in the district that hinder best practice, compliance, and real parent and community involvement. Many districts and school sites want to wave the money wand one time and call it fixed. Consultant trainers and other carpet baggers with cookie cutter solutions will never replace the passion and dedication of properly trained and directed employees and stakeholders.

Got opinions on the stimulus ideas? Shoot me your thoughts at Or go straight to San Diego Unified and send your input to Deputy Superintendent Chuck Morris at


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