Statement: “People need to realize that in this proposal that the president or CEO or somebody designated from the EDC, also I think the Chamber of Commerce, would be just basically put on the (school) board,” City Council President Tony Young said at a March 30 forum in Scripps Ranch on education reform.

Determination: False

Analysis: A new campaign aims to expand the school board to include four new appointed members, on top of the five who are now elected.

Backers from a group of philanthropists, parents and others called San Diegans 4 Great Schools say the effort will stabilize and depoliticize the school board by preventing big swings in its direction with each election. Opponents, including the teachers union and existing board members, call it undemocratic and elitist.

City Council President Tony Young was asked what he thought of the measure at a Scripps Ranch forum on education reform March 30. This is one of the first forays that Young has made into school issues, leading up to a listening tour he is planning on education.

Young explained that he didn’t like the idea of appointees and said someone chosen by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. would be put on the board.

But that isn’t correct. Under the plan, a committee of nine people would appoint the four extra members on the school board.

That group of nine would include one representative from the business community, rotating between the leaders of the education committees of the Economic Development Corporation and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. It would also include four parents who lead advisory committees in San Diego Unified and four leaders of local universities.

So someone from the Economic Development Corporation or the chamber would gain more power to help choose who sits on the school board. But the measure doesn’t say they themselves would be put on the board, as Young said.

Young’s statement would have stood except that someone at the forum corrected him after he made it. The person explained that the business representatives would help appoint the school board, not go directly onto it.

Young responded at the Scripps Ranch event, “That is a concern for me, OK, that these are the folks who are going to appoint people.” His chief of staff, Jimmie Slack, later told us that Young recognizes the error and hadn’t seen the exact proposal at the time of the event.

Though Young corrected his statement, we thought it was still worth a Fact Check because the school board expansion proposal is fairly complicated and ripe for confusion. And Young plans to wade into the debate with his listening tour.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

You can also e-mail new Fact Check suggestions to factcheck@voiceofsandiego.org. What claim should we explore next?

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

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

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