A small sign of the push to decentralize how decisions are made in San Diego Unified: Board member John Lee Evans is sparking a discussion at a meeting next Tuesday about how the school district might reorganize its “school improvement officers,” who oversee principals, to be aligned with the geographic clusters of schools that each feed into a single high school.

The officers now oversee schools based on grade level, not geographic areas. Different superintendents have reorganized the employees who oversee principals in different ways. Here’s my roundup from an old article about this idea and how it has fallen in and out of vogue over time:

Archived articles from the Union-Tribune report that Superintendent Tom Payzant slashed the central offices in 1991 and formed “mini school boards” to handle budgets and curricula at individual schools; teachers boycotted those teams under Bertha Pendleton in 1994 and parents sparred with teachers over their powers in 1996; Alan Bersin set a single curriculum and lassoed federal money to use for central reforms but freed schools to budget as they wished earlier in this decade; Carl Cohn divvied up the school district into five areas and gave them more power and was criticized for inconsistencies between the different regions.

The agenda item doesn’t give any other details about the idea. Should be an interesting discussion.


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