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A bid to remake the San Diego Unified school board to include four new, appointed members fell short of the number of signatures needed to get onto the ballot, the Union-Tribune reports.

The measure needed 93,085 signatures and county officials found that 90,027 were valid, said Denise Jenkins, an elections analyst in the City Clerk’s Office.

“It pretty much just ends because it was insufficient,” Jenkins said.

The plan was led by San Diegans 4 Great Schools, a group of philanthropists, business leaders, parents and others who argued that expanding the school board and changing the way it was chosen would depoliticize the school board. Under the plan, four new school board members would be tapped by a new committee of university chiefs, parent leaders and a business representative.

It would also have imposed term limits on school board members and changed the election system so that board members only ran within smaller subdistricts instead of the school district at large.


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The campaign was bankrolled largely by two donors, Qualcomm cofounder Irwin Jacobs and businessman Rod Dammeyer. It argued that the elected board of five was unstable, prone to dramatic swings in direction with each election and that the school district was failing its students. The plan was loathed by existing school board members and the teachers union, who called it elitist and undemocratic.

The signature campaign was led, at least earlier this year, by the La Jolla Group, which is fresh off of a similar blunder. The group was in charge of getting Councilman Carl DeMaio’s contracting measure on last year’s ballot and failed to get sufficient signatures.

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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