Schools in Point Loma have an independent streak: They’ve mulled splitting off from the school district as their own system. They’ve floated the idea of becoming a set of charter schools.

Now school board member John de Beck and the Point Loma schools, which have formed their own nonprofit, are bringing forward another idea to empower the cluster of schools: Letting them pool their budgets and suggest their own ideas for cuts to the school board. Their hope is that they could gain more power over what happens to their schools, especially as budgets dwindle.

Giving Point Loma schools more control over their budgets would be a year-long pilot program, according to a proposal sent to the school board. The schools could not violate existing agreements with employee unions, nor could they sidestep contracts the school district has already agreed to. Individual schools could decide to pull out of the cluster budget before it was finalized and keep their funds.

The idea will go before the school board Tuesday. It has already sparked interest across the school district: Hundreds of parents gathered in La Jolla tonight to talk about forming their own cluster organization and mentioned the Point Loma budget idea as one promising idea to pursue in the future.

— EMILY ALPERT

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