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School district attorney Mark Bresee is leaving San Diego Unified to join an education law firm. The school district announced his departure after a dispute over closed meeting rules that led one school board member to publicly criticize his judgment as an attorney and suggest Bresee should step down.

The school district said Breese told Superintendent Bill Kowba that he had decided to leave a week ago, and told the school board Thursday. The press release also stated:

“Mark has provided excellent counsel to the Board and excellent leadership for our legal services office. Through his efforts we realized significant savings in our overall legal expenses,” said Richard Barrera, Board President. “Mark is as fine a public servant as I have ever encountered.”

Bresee was recently criticized by school board member John de Beck for excluding him from a closed school board meeting over concerns that he had a conflict of interest. An outside attorney later determined that de Beck should not have been excluded from the meeting, de Beck and another school board member said.

Though the school board was informed by email on Thursday that Bresee was leaving, de Beck, who has been traveling in Turkey, issued an email announcement Friday saying he believed Bresee should consider stepping down.

Bresee said he had already decided to leave before de Beck sent his email. He is joining the firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo as a partner.

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

Emily Alpert

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

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