San Diego Unified is still falling short of its ambitious goals for hiring local workers to build and renovate local schools, one of the key parts of the controversial union pact for its $2.1 billion school construction bond.

The numbers have improved a bit since we last blogged about it almost a year ago. The district is dramatically exceeding a different set of goals: to use companies owned by women, disabled veterans and people of color.

Local hiring was one of the selling points for the labor pact, which was decried by nonunion contractors for giving an edge to union apprentices and requiring contractors to hire from union halls.

The district set steep goals two years ago for local hiring: 100 percent of its workers were supposed to live in San Diego County, 70 percent were supposed to live within the San Diego Unified boundaries, and 35 percent were supposed to come from targeted zip codes in poorer areas such as City Heights and Clairemont Mesa.

Right now, 95 percent of workers come from San Diego County, not far from the 100 percent goal and an improvement over the 88 percent the district reported last fall. Workers from targeted zip codes make up 20 percent, shy of the 35 percent goal, but an increase over the 17 percent last reported.

But only 32 percent come from San Diego Unified, less than half of the 70 percent goal. And that’s actually lower than the 36 percent that the district reported last fall.

Lee Dulgeroff, who oversees the construction bond, said the school district is doing more training and weekly meetings with contractors and unions to emphasize the goals. It is also going to do an hour-by-hour analysis of how much time local workers are used, instead of just relying on a head count.

School board members were happier with the share of construction that went to small businesses and companies owned by women, disabled veterans and people of color. The district has dramatically exceeded those goals, which were not part of the labor pact. School board member Shelia Jackson urged the district to put out a press release that it was putting people back to work.

For instance, the school district awarded 9.2 percent of its construction business to “minority-owned business enterprise,” above its 5.8 percent goal. It gave 6.4 percent of its business to companies owned by women, exceeding its 2.1 percent goal.

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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