The San Diego Unified school board gave its interim superintendent a mostly positive public evaluation on Tuesday night, praising Bill Kowba for his performance in the midst of a budget crisis.

Kowba has been floated as a possible permanent schools chief, so you can also read these bits of praise and criticism like tea leaves on his future job prospects. Here were the key points from his report card:

  • Because of the pressing issue of budget woes, instruction hasn’t been given enough attention this year. That’s understandable, but it needs to change, the school board said. Off the school board, this is one of the few concerns I’ve heard about Kowba, a respected and down-to-earth administrator whose background is in the operational side of schools: How will he help improve learning?
  • The school board said Kowba values differences of opinion and has done an exceptional job creating an open and welcoming environment for parents, employees and other people involved in schools. This is probably Kowba’s biggest selling point in a school district that seems to thrive on conflict.
  • Other business aspects of the school district still need some work, the board said. The school district still has trouble tracking employee numbers and costs and its budget reports aren’t clear enough to the public. But nonetheless, the board said Kowba’s performance on budget issues had been superb in a very, very challenging time.
  • The evaluation concluded, “As the Interim Superintendent you have contributed substantially to the long term stability and progress of our District and should take pride in what you have accomplished.”


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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