At last, the San Diego school district’s budget is approved and campuses know what’s coming: hundreds of job cuts, much larger class sizes in lower elementary grades at many schools, less bus service and much more.
Or, to put it another way, much less. In total, more than one in 10 educators are slated to lose their jobs.
“Make no doubt about it, this board is very, very aware that passing this budget is going to cause grave damage to our schools in San Diego,” one school board member said.
It may not be final, though, since much depends on the state budget and possibly over-optimistic projections of future state revenues.
Meanwhile, the state legislature has passed a budget that makes drastic cuts to universities and services for the needy, closes seventy parks, kills off redevelopment agencies (but allows them to partially resurrect themselves) and more.
The next step is for the governor to sign what a state senator calls the “most austere budget we have seen in a generation.”
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Kehoe Is a No-Go for Mayor
Following on last week’s rumors, state Senator and former Councilwoman Christine Kehoe, who’s been floating the idea of running for mayor, says she won’t do it, the U-T reports. That leaves only one Democrat — Rep. Bob Filner — in the four-person race, and no other potential Dem hopeful is getting much in the way of buzz, although some Democrats aren’t fans of Filner.
Judge Takes Out the Trash Service
A judge ruled yesterday that the city can go ahead and stop providing no-fee trash service to potentially 14,000 residences on private streets, the U-T reports, although some may get a reprieve because they live close to public streets.
The homes that get cut off will now have to pay $15-$20 a month for someone to pick up their garbage. Check out our video series San Diego Explained for details about the big debate over the city’s “free” trash pickup.
• A state appeals court says the county retirement system must release information, including names and payment amounts, about ex-employees who receive pensions. Leagle has the complete ruling.
Charter Schools May Lose Freedoms
Back when the charter school movement started to pick up steam in the 1990s, the idea behind them was a simple one: they’d be able to make gains in education by getting rid of suffocating rules and regulations. In many cases, unions and school boards were skeptical of these upstarts.
Now, charter schools have been around for a while with mixed success, and some California legislators want to clamp down on their freedoms by making new rules. The previous governor wasn’t big on this idea. But now there’s a new boss in town who might veer the other way, and charter schools worry that they’ll be strangled by red tape. The dispute reflects an ongoing local debate over school district oversight of private schools.
And You Are…?
It turns out that neither the county chapter of the Democratic Party nor its Republican counterpart is a fan of elected officials who dare to veer from the party line. Earlier this week, the local Democratic chairman declared that any Democratic elected official who supported a Republican candidate for San Diego mayor would not receive the party’s support or endorsement. (In yesterday’s Morning Report, I misunderstood the edict and incorrectly stated that the party would actually work to defeat such an official.)
The Republican county chairman says they’ve always abided by that policy, just reversed.
The mayor of Lemon Grove, a Democrat and supporter of a Republican for San Diego mayor, is still miffed and venting her spleen. She said she’s never even met Jess Durfee, the county Democratic chairman, and doesn’t appreciate his tone. “Do your best Mr. Durfee — rain fire and brimstone on me,” she wrote. “I intend to remain a Democrat because I believe in what the Party stands for and your letter does not embody that!”
We’ll be closely watching to see if Democratic Party headquarters smells like rotten eggs, and not because of a brunch gone bad. Brimstone sounds like a rock, but it’s actually another word for sulfur.
• Endorsements or no endorsements, Democrats have had no luck trying to push over the wall of Republicans on the county board of supervisors. The five current supervisors, all GOPers, have been in office since 1995. The minor revising of district border lines that the board tentatively approved yesterday — it was one of three options — isn’t likely to change things. But critics, ranging from the ACLU to minority groups to San Diego’s most outspoken ex-city attorney, are miffed for a variety of reasons, making charges of gerrymandering and insider fixing.
Debating the Evaluation of Teachers
In the world of work, teachers have long been unusual because their salaries don’t tend to depend on their job performance. That’s changing, and a big debate has erupted over how to measure whether a teacher’s doing a good job (one idea is to monitor how kids improve over time) and how to use that information. We asked our members about the issue and got almost 100 responses, including commentary and answers to a survey about where they stand.
The opinions tended to call for monitoring, question the validity and difficulty of the process, bash unions and/or defend teachers from taking the blame for factors they can’t control. More than 60 percent of those who responded to the survey said “value-added data” should be used as tool to evaluate teachers, with a few more saying it’s not ready for prime time yet. Only 22 percent definitively opposed its use as a way to determine whether teachers are doing their job properly.
• A few months ago, a San Diego school board member had a pretty bold dream. After voters refused to boost their property taxes to support schools, he said donors could help the district buy school supplies by contributing to a special fund. Get 10,000 people to pony up, he said, and that would result in a pot of almost $1 million.
That pot has barely simmered: Donations have only reached about $6,000. It may not be the result of apathy, though, since publicity has been lacking.
Local Legislator Issues Dire Warning
Have you armed yourself with a gun, a dog and an alarm system? State Senator Joel Anderson, who represents parts of East County, suggests that you might want to get all three if you’re a law-abiding sort who wants to protect your home and family. In a commentary, he warns that the state’s plans to potentially release tens of thousands of inmates jeopardize safety. In part, he blames the U.S. Supreme Court and its insistence on the “rights” of prisoners. (He put his own quotation marks around the word.)
“This is nothing more than a federally-sponsored jailbreak,” Anderson writes. He doesn’t explain what rights, if any, that he thinks prisoners should have.
My, What a Big Bear You Have
The Arts Report, the Morning Report’s little sister, is back with its weekly update of all things art-errific. It includes a summary of news and viewpoints about the demise of Sushi Contemporary and Visual Art, a boulder-y bear at UCSD and the swarms of bees that love to check in on the San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops every year.
Gee. You’d think they’d be tired of hearing “The Flight of the Bumblebees” by now.
Correction: Yesterday’s Morning Report incorrectly said the chairman of the county Democratic party declared he’ll work to defeat any Democratic official who supports a Republican candidate for mayor. In fact, he said the party will not endorse or support any such official. We regret the error.