San Diego Unified school board President John Lee Evans sent me a statement Thursday regarding our interview with the district’s new chief financial officer, Stan Dobbs.

In his statement, Evans repeats, in his own words, much of what Superintendent Bill Kowba wrote in his own letter to Voice of San Diego earlier this week.

Evans takes the approach of fact-checking several assertions that Dobbs made. He also points out that, as a public official, one should be careful in making public declarations:

For example, the media recently investigated my assertion that the schools in Mira Mesa are outstanding and they found that to be true. A couple of years ago I decried the dismal academic performance in math at Lincoln High School. That turned out to be true, too.

Two of Dobbs’ most controversial statements from the interview turned out to be false.

Evans “fact-checks” two other contentions, both of which he also labels false: Dobbs’ assertion the district is in trouble because of excess compensation, and that the district has shied away from difficult cuts needed to save the district. These aren’t statements Dobbs explicitly made, but nevertheless, Evans’ rebuttal of them makes interesting reading.

A couple of quick snippets:

On Dobbs’ statement that the district has hundreds of excess employees, Evans writes:

There is a difference between having more employees than you need vs. more than you can afford. We need all of the teachers and support staff that we have. We actually need more counselors and nurses and librarians and teachers, but we cannot afford them.

On the CFO’s claim that there is no evidence to show that larger class sizes impact student learning, Evans writes:

Ask any parent if they are okay with having over 40 kids in a high school chemistry class or over 30 in a first grade class. There are some studies that support smaller class size, but we need to look no further than San Diego classrooms.

You can read the full statement here.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at or 619.550.5670.

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Will Carless

Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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