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If San Diego voters opt to remake the local school board and add four appointed members, they will be embarking on something very unusual — at least in California.
While there are appointed school boards in other big cities across the country, such as New York and Washington D.C., the California School Boards Association says there is only one other appointed school board in the state, the Los Angeles County school board, which is chosen by the county board of supervisors.
There was at least one other school board with appointees in the past: Oakland briefly allowed Jerry Brown, then the mayor, to appoint a few members and expand its elected board, but later stopped. California Watch does a nice job explaining how it played out, quoting a 2001 report that said the board ended up being split between Brown’s supporters and older holdovers.
That’s not the only thing that makes this plan unusual. As I wrote in my story, the mayor or the governor typically chooses appointees in other cities with appointed school boards. Here, the idea is to form a committee of parents, university leaders and a business rep to do the appointing — and that’s rare.