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In a narrow vote, the San Diego Unified school board decided not to spend more than $13,000 to continue being a member of the National School Boards Association and its subgroup for large city school districts, the Council of Urban Boards of Education.

Board members Richard Barrera, John de Beck and Katherine Nakamura voted against the cost in light of the spending freeze in the school district and its membership in other organizations, such as the Council of Great City Schools, that also advocate for urban schools.

“I think we have to be a little bit more exclusive this year,” Nakamura said, adding, “We can do a lot with $13,000 dollars.”

Board President Shelia Jackson, who pushed to keep the membership, said that the organization is the only group that represents school boards, rather than school districts, and played an important role in advocating for elected boards. She alluded to the growing push in Washington, D.C. for city mayors to step in and appoint school boards, saying, “The mindset in Washington right now is not positive towards board of education. … If we don’t advocate, we won’t have a voice — period.”

EMILY ALPERT

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