We’re excited to bring Phil Stover, who helped shepherd San Diego Unified through its new budgeting process, onto our blog to answer your questions about the planned budget cuts. Stover takes the helm tomorrow, but you can get a jump start now and send him your questions at pstover@sandi.net. Now for the newsblitz:

  • The Union-Tribune reports that the number of local students admitted to San Diego State University as freshmen fell by more than half under its new admissions rules. School administrators say that will be offset by an increased number of local transfer students.
  • Also in the U-T: A federal judge says a Poway teacher should be able to hang banners referring to God in his classroom.
  • SDNN brings you part two of its series on two converted charter schools, five years after they split from the school district. This part focuses on Keiller Leadership Academy.
  • The Vista school board is trying to scrape together enough money to save elementary school music teachers and keep health technicians at schools, the North County Times writes.
  • Few people expect California to be a finalist in a competition for more federal stimulus money for schools, known as Race to the Top. Educated Guess blogs about what California would do if it loses this round.
  • Nearly 4,700 employees in Los Angeles Unified will be warned of possible layoffs, the Daily Breeze writes. Meanwhile in the Los Angeles Times, a middle school teacher opines that an ACLU lawsuit is right to charge that layoffs there last year hit disadvantaged schools hardest.
  • This will be controversial: A national think tank says teachers support plans to base layoffs on something other than seniority.
  • The Sacramento Bee writes about the fascinating proposal for a charter school specifically for Hmong students — an idea that has split the Hmong community there. Ethnically isolated charter schools have also been a topic of debate here in San Diego.
  • A legendary Los Angeles teacher is battling cancer, the Times reports.
  • President Obama is offering an unprecedented increase in federal funding for school districts that aggressively shake up failing schools. The New York Times writes about the plan, noting his praise for a Rhode Island high school where all the teachers are being dismissed. Schools could shuck their principals and half their staff, become charter schools or simply shut down.
  • Walt Gardner blogs that firing teachers to save a school is plain old scapegoating. The Washington Post writes that teachers unions feel much the same way.
  • And the Associated Press reports that the Haitian earthquake could actually be an opportunity to remake the country’s troubled schools.

— EMILY ALPERT

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