School board member John de Beck said that attorneys hired by San Diego Unified to analyze whether de Beck had a conflict of interest concluded that he did not, in fact, have one.

De Beck serves on the board of a nonprofit health trust. As we reported yesterday, fellow board members have questioned whether de Beck can objectively weigh issues related to the trust’s relationship to the school district. The issue exploded after San Diego Unified started exploring whether it should split off from the trust.

The school board heard from the attorneys about the issue in a closed meeting Tuesday night, but members declined Wednesday to share what the attorneys concluded because they met in closed session. I couldn’t reach De Beck, who is traveling in Turkey, at the time.

In an email to me today, de Beck wrote that the attorney “found no conflict of interest” and also said the school district attorney had no right to exclude him from a closed meeting.

De Beck was frozen out of a closed meeting about the health trust weeks ago because the school district attorney feared he might have a conflict of interest. Regardless of legal issues, an ethicist I talked to for my story said de Beck still should avoid votes where his loyalties could be divided.

School board member Shelia Jackson, who had declined to share the attorneys’ findings earlier this week, confirmed what de Beck said today. She said she did so because de Beck had already broken the silence about their closed meeting. School district officials said they could not confirm his statements.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter:

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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