The Morning Report
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Tonight, hundreds of jobs in San Diego schools will be on the line. The school board is scheduled to decide whether to warn more than 900 educators and at least 600 other workers that their jobs may be cut.
Parents have been calling us to ask about what might happen to teachers at their local schools. To help you understand the possible impact, we’ve created a map that will allow you to pinpoint how your school may be affected. The schools south of Interstate 8 — a longstanding dividing line between richer and poorer areas in the district — look to lose the highest percentages of teachers.
Last-minute politicking continues. The teachers union says the layoffs are an unnecessary move and points to cases of what it describes as the district’s undercounting and underestimating. The union believes only 128 jobs in the union need to be cut, not the proposed 885. A district official says schools can’t rely on estimates, like guesses about how many teachers will retire.
A district report says 17 San Diego public schools could lose more than a quarter of their teaching staffs if the school board goes ahead with layoffs this week. This is because of the district’s ever-painful “last hired, first fired” rule. The schools whose teachers will be hit the most tend to be those with high percentages of poor kids, raising familiar questions about the effect of layoffs on schools with needy students.
Task Force: Yes, City Is Still in Crisis
It’s not rerun season yet on TV, but you can catch a repeat all the same: a prominent task force that warned of a city in crisis 15 months ago is back with the same message. The head of the panel, whose new report screams “ACTION IS REQUIRED,” wonders if “maybe you have to say it twice.” (Don’t worry, the all caps did the trick.)
The report once again calls for reform and criticizes city leaders for their “seeming absence of a sense of urgency.” The task force leader says the city’s current deficit is $130 million, more than twice the mayor’s estimate.
Cleanup Deal May Be Six Feet Under
David Malcolm, a businessman and longtime major player in South Bay politics, says a deal between the Dynegy company and the city of Chula Vista is dead, thanks to delays from the port district. The deal would have allowed the city would take on liability for dismantling the plant and cleaning up the site in exchange for $50 million from Dynegy.
“We could have done it months ago if it wasn’t for these yo-yos at the port,” Malcolm said. “Now we’ve lost our chance.”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Dynegy is threatening bankruptcy. If Dynegy goes bankrupt, that could spell trouble for the port, Will Carless reports. “The port has a promise from Dynegy that the company will complete the cleanup of the power plant, which was shuttered in December. Dynegy has said it has about $40 million stashed away for that purpose. But that money is not protected by a trust, meaning that if the company goes belly up, the port will have to line up with all Dynegy’s other creditors to get the money.”
‘You’re Going to Have the Baby Today’
As San Diego schools ponder more budget cuts, we told you this week about the work that school nurses do. The district is thinking about eliminating half of the on-site positions. In a follow-up post, Emily Alpert offers the full story she heard from one nurse about a student who visited the nurse’s office with a problem.
The girl thought she needed a sanitary pad. The nurse realized she needed a visit to the hospital: she was in labor. “You’re going to have the baby today and I need to get you to the hospital because I don’t want you have the baby here,” the nurse told the student.
According to the nurse, the story points to the importance of health services from school nurses instead of, say, from an office secretary. “The secretary would have given her a pad, and she’d have had the baby here,” the nurse said.
Judge Says No to Target
SDGLN.com reports that a local judge has refused, at least temporarily, a request by Target that a pro-gay-marriage group be ordered to stop gathering signatures outside its stores in California. A trial is coming later.
In a court document, a Target official complained that petition gatherers outside the Poway store confronted customers who said no to requests from the petitioners, becoming “angry and aggressive [and] continuing to challenge our customers on their morals.” A representative of the petition gatherers responded: “We are always respectful of people and their opinions. We are trying to win hearts and minds, so why would we want to offend someone or chase after them?”
VOSD Board Member on Branding and More
Our CEO Scott Lewis interviews one of his bosses, voiceofsandiego.org board member Reid Carr, whose Red Door Interactive agency has worked with Rubio’s, SignOnSanDiego and dozens of other companies seeking marketing assistance and insight into digital tools. Carr answers questions about advertising, branding, the role of social media and, of course, voiceofsandiego.org.
Let the Sunshine In
It’s Sunshine Week, when media organizations around the country emphasize the importance of open and accessible public information. In a timely move, CityBeat and a new group called Open San Diego have created a website with more than 200 bookmarks linking to resources for those who want to better understand government and our community.
“We want to make the case that more openness is a good thing for everyone, including policymakers and public servants,” Open San Diego’s Jed Sundwall tells CityBeat. “There’s a strong current of ‘We need transparency so we can catch people with their pants down’ among open-government advocates … but I want to emphasize that it helps journalists tell the truth about great work being done just as easily as it allows them to tell the truth about poor work.”
In other words: Keep your pants on and do the right thing, government folks, and you’ll be fine. You might even look great. (Although to be frank, I wouldn’t recommend wearing those skinny jeans until you lose 15 pounds.)
Speaking of Sunshine
We’re happy to announce a new occasional feature: Arts Voices, a collection of opinions from the crowds attending arts events. To launch, we talked to some of the audience at “Little Miss Sunshine” about the play’s strengths and weakness, and about whom they they think should see it.