We asked readers “If the state put you in charge of San Diego Unified School District, how would you fix things?”


By Ron Romero

1. Stop paying for summer break.

2. 14,000 employees in the district, only 7,000 are teachers, reorganize and remove 3,000 positions from the administration and bureaucratic areas.

3. Make students pay for books.

4. Only make elective classes available at 100 percent cost. Otherwise, remove them altogether.

5. Allow 4.0 students to go to school less time, allowing classrooms to be combined

6. Do away with tenure.

7. Make teachers compete for classrooms every year by having them take an evaluation before the school year begins to determine if they have the tools for success: social, conflict resolution, creativity in teaching, education, SME, etc. The highest scoring teachers get to choose their classes.

8. Allow consultants to teach subjects.

Ron Romero lives in San Diego.


By Lorena Escamilla

1. Reduce the central office by hiring part-time workers to address any issues.

2. Eliminate as many administration jobs as possible, have a principal at two sites.

3. No new adoptions so that the teachers teaching at their current level master the material they are teaching.

4. Keep the same assignment for next year.

5. Recruit more community volunteers to teach extra courses or tutor during the school day.

6. Keep classes size as low as possible. This decreases the amount of time students need extra resources.

7. Decrease K-3 classes and ensure that there is a community volunteer teaching reading to one to three students every day of the week. These students will need less resources in the immediate future because an engaged student is a productive citizen.

8. Encourage parents to teach their children K-3 reading, writing and math.

9. Close all second language schools; parents should have the responsibility to educate their children in a second language. Volunteers could teach a second language during, before or after school.

10. Cut all supplies budget except for cleaning supplies. All parents can provide schools supplies for their children since public schools already request donations.

11. Set the schools on an energy timers. Charge those employees with electrical appliances a fee of $10 a month to have a small electrical appliance in their office or classroom.

12. Sell school property.

13. Provide medical/dental/vision insurance only for employees and have them pay for their dependents. (This item needs to be negotiated with the teachers union.)

A dozen ways to reduce the budget and one more to be negotiated.

Lorena Escamilla lives in San Carlos.


By John Casey

Eliminate campus cops. It’s around $10 million a year. Local police can be on campus in minutes, if needed.

Eliminate busing. If the schools in the South Bay area become crowded, move in portable classrooms. If the schools north of Interstate 8 get fewer students, close the schools.

Increase class sizes to 35 to 40 from K-12. When I went to school in San Diego, in the ’40s and ’50s, class sizes were 35 to 45 per class. We turned out all right. No proof smaller classes increase learning.

Coordinate students’ lessons among the teachers. My kids went to Correia when they used team teaching and loved the experience. They both got into top colleges. Teachers lecture on the subject for 20 minutes to all levels of students. Then they break up into three discussion groups according to their abilities: Slow, medium and fast learners.

Don’t pay back union supporters by requiring union labor on school construction. It reduces the number of bidders and costs more. Why waste taxpayers dollars?

Sell off all those 28 properties that were closed in the early 1980s as excess property. They are leased at rates way under market value to private schools. Again, why devalue assets provided by taxpayers? Selling them could raise more than $50 million.

John Casey lives in San Diego.


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Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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