Join us tonight for a live discussion on how to solve San Diego Unified’s financial crisis. We’ll be at the McMillin Event Center in Point Loma’s Liberty Station at 7 p.m., and Will Carless and I will be putting questions to school board members Richard Barrera and Scott Barnett, teacher Dennis Schamp, and parents Paul M. Bowers and Teresa Drew.

Leading up to the event, we’ve put together a five-part San Diego Explained series with NBC 7 San Diego called Schools on the Brink telling the story of the district’s woes.

In Part 3, Catherine Garcia and I take a look at the recent gambles that the crisis is rooted in. If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1 and Part 2 to get caught up.

View more videos at:

(Quick note: The unidentified man speaking at a podium about the school board’s decisions is school board member Scott Barnett. The ID doesn’t appear on the web version.)

Want more? We’re hosting commentaries from readers on how they would fix schools. And here are five recommended stories on the crisis:

1. The Ticking Time Bomb in School Finances

Before school leaders publicly declared the threat of insolvency, our investigation foreshadowed the problem, finding that a series of San Diego Unified decisions threatened to further erode class sizes, beloved programs and its overall financial footing.

2. San Diego Schools Chief: ‘Starting Point on the Road to Insolvency’

Superintendent Bill Kowba issued a stark warning in mid-October: If the state made cuts in the middle of the year to education, the district was headed on the road to insolvency. We put together a simple three-part guide to understanding how it got to that point.

3. Insolvency Has Long Colored School District Decisions

The public proclamations that the San Diego Unified School District faces a state takeover dropped like a bombshell, but our story revealed that district leaders have had serious discussions about insolvency both publicly and privately for years.

4. Solutions? Yes, There Have Been a Few Proposed

School board President Richard Barrera wants the state to levy new taxes on things like oil or alcohol. Board member Scott Barnett wants to cut employee pay, reverse promised raises and ask for a tax increase. The other three board members are basically mum. Even one engaged parent thinks going insolvent is the solution.

5. So What Happens if the School District Does Go Insolvent?

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at or 619.325.0526.

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