Our forum this week brought school board members, parents and a teacher together to discuss the troubles facing the San Diego school district and the possible solutions. Check our recap, which includes talk about delayed raises, trust issues, revenue ups and downs, and taxes.

And it includes the startling graphs about education funding from the state that set the room abuzz and caused school board members there to shake their heads. Those graphs, and the data, took us weeks to put together.

The fourth episode in our TV series in conjunction with NBC 7 San Diego examines what the school district could do next: seek more tax revenue from Sacramento, sort out its own problems or declare insolvency.

• Imani Robinson’s twin children are at both ends of the spectrum of public schools: one is in the gifted program, while the other has a learning disability. She’s become a parent activist, motivated by frustration and love to push for change.

In this week’s Q&A, Robinson talks about the school district’s troubles, the “scary” growth of charter schools and how she teaches her kids to deal with lousy teachers.

“I teach my children to strategize. I figure out what’s wrong with that teacher and I say, ‘If she’s ignoring you in class, you get your work done and you ignore her.’ That empowers my children.”

I wonder if that works on bosses?

• Check out the slew of new commentaries about how to fix city schools, including this piece from a teacher, who advocates for everyone to acknowledge a few things including: “A realistic, objective system of teacher evaluation needs to be devised.” Another reader offers one way to do that. Still another is tired of all the talking.

Correcting the Morning Report

Yesterday’s Morning Report incorrectly implied that the Metropolitan Transit System will ban all luggage larger than 30 by 18 inches on all routes. One bus route, Route 992, which serves the airport and parts of downtown, will allow larger luggage. Time to pack that baby grand piano!

Tryouts for ‘Moby-Dick’

Behind the Scene TV takes a look at the tryouts we told you about for non-singing but very athletic parts in the upcoming San Diego Opera production of “Moby-Dick.”

And the Winners Are…

Three readers were the first to correctly identify a San Diego park as the 45th oldest in the country: It’s Pantoja Park, a tiny park in downtown near the marina that was founded in 1850.

The city has more details about the park, which was named after a Spanish explorer and is home to a statue of a Mexican president.  

The trio of fast-and-accurate readers are Marlon Gardinera, Richard Amero and Douglas Byrns. From one history nerd to three others: Nice job!

•••

What We Learned This Week

• Tech First, Repairs Later, and Then…: Voters gave a boost to San Diego schools back in 2008, when they approved allowing the district to borrow a bundle to fix and upgrade schools. When it came to spending the money, technology was often a priority over repairs. That choice now looks questionable: The repair bill has risen by $137 million, and now the district wants to raise that money, possibly by asking voters to open their wallets again.

Taxpayers Still in Dark over Convention Center Costs: It’s becoming more clear how much hotel visitors and the port district will pay to build the convention center expansion. But the city hasn’t figured out its share, and there are questions about how much taxpayers might need to cough up and how the city might cap the amount.

The View’s the Thing (Or Is It the Other Way Around?): Some naysayers think the skyscraper-sized “Wings of Freedom” dual sculpture would ruin the view of the bay in downtown. Not so, say its top supporters: The wings/sails would be the view.

County Does More for Poor, Yet Still Lags: The county is getting federal money to help poor people get access to health care, but it’s been lagging in terms of helping others in need.

‘Papa’ Do Preach: “Papa Doug” Manchester, the hotel mogul and developer, officially took over ownership of the U-T this week and told KUSI that he wants the paper to be a a cheerleader for what’s right and good for the country, such as promoting the new stadium or whatever.”

CityBeat got an inside report (via a leaked recording) from a staff-wide U-T meeting yesterday. Among other things, the paper plans to make the print edition and website look like each other, motivate workers, and consider hiring new reporters.  

Besides a pep talk and a sumptuous spread, U-T staffers got a nice perk yesterday: free holiday turkeys. There was a hitch on the way to the Christmas table, however: Many workers had no cold place to store their frozen birds for the day. 

•••

Quote of the Day:I guess that would be rhetorical.” — City Council President Tony Young, after asking, “I guess this would be a philosophical question and maybe it’s rhetorical. But does that hotel in Rancho Bernardo benefit from the Convention Center?” and not getting a response at City Council.

•••

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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