While students can attend their local public school free of tuition costs, that doesn’t stop nonprofit foundations from hitting  up parents for money. Mario Koran waded into the murky waters of school foundations to find out how closely the money they receive is monitored by the school district. He found that foundations, which can bring in large sums through their fundraising efforts, have very little accountability to San Diego Unified.

“San Diego Unified has broken promises to monitor how school foundations fund-raise and spend their cash,” Koran reports. Foundation money often supports only specific schools, and can mean more programs or even additional teachers for a school, supported by the foundation.

Cheap Homes Rebounding Most

Financial consultant Rich Toscano reports on some recent housing data that shows home prices rebounding — lower-cost houses are doing the best — but put the gains in the context of the historic losses suffered in 2008. “Cheaper homes have done a lot better in the rebound, but they also suffered far worse during the crash,” Toscano writes.

It’ll Be ‘Smart’ Parking Soon

You’ll recall how Scott Lewis recently raised the alarm over a failed project to replace coin-op parking meters with “smart” parking meters that would allow customers to use credit cards . Lewis joined NBC San Diego’s Catherine Garcia to give an update to the story, namely that the lauded meters have found a new path to getting installed on San Diego streets. Lewis explains the project’s new life in our most recent San Diego Explained.

Steady On, Cancer Fight

Tate Hurvitz heard about some exciting news concerning advancements in genome sequencing recently, and wrote in to urge restraint in touting genomics as the cure to all the myriad problems cancer presents. “We cannot … cure cancer without also taking a deep, hard look at ourselves and asking some very hard questions,” Hurvitz writes.

Shamu to Retire?

We’ve been writing about the impact of the documentary “Blackfish” on Seaworld and on San Diego’s economy. Now, a California lawmaker has proposed banning orca whales from theme show performances and prohibiting any captive breeding programs for orcas as well. “The park would still be allowed to put whales on exhibit in settings similar to aquariums, but not used for performance or entertainment purposes,” the U-T reports.

Homeless Keep Shelter

San Diego’s two homeless shelters should be able to stay open until June 30, if a proposal going through City Council to pay for them is approved. CityBeat reports that the shelters were set to revert to their normal closing day of March 31 due to funding shortfalls. “[Former Mayor] Filner allocated roughly $1.9 million in last year’s budget to keep the shelters open, despite warnings from the San Diego Housing Commission that Filner didn’t take into account the full cost of utilities and maintenance,” CityBeat writes.

• Citybeat’s associate editor Kelly Davis wrote Thursday that she’s battling breast cancer. Having battled with Davis’ willfulness before, I’m confident that cancer is not up to the task. The Morning Report sends our support, and we look forward to reading about her progress.

News Nibbles

• Former Mayor Bob Filner opened a San Diego city government office in Tijuana, but left it empty. Mayor Kevin Faulconer says it’s time to put some people in it.

• The final day to file a petition to run for City Council elections was Thursday. The list is mostly the usual suspects, with some hopefuls thrown in.

• Convicted former police officer Anthonly Arevalos will stay in jail while the district attorney appeals a judge’s ruling that overturned two of the convictions against Arevalos.

• With the nuclear generating station all but shut down, the San Onofre beach area may be experiencing a revival of marine wildlife, the U-T reports.

• KPBS notes that the hotly contested draining of Lake Morena is done (for now), and showed some starkly contrasting images that illustrate the impact of the water loss on the lake.

• President Barack Obama’s proposed budget includes $216 million to fund the second phase of an expansion to the San Ysidro border crossing.

• More than one-third of San Diego residents don’t earn enough money to survive here, according to the Center for Policy Initiatives.

• “The Largest Thrift, Garage and Estate Sale in Southern California” takes place this weekend in Balboa Park, and all proceeds benefit local charities.

Taste of Your Own Medicine

It’s a rare moment when people who are thrust into the spotlight by news organizations are able to turn the tables and shine the light back on the media. But for the past years, San Diego’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has hosted a yearly event giving people who have been the subjects of major news stories the opportunity to grade the job done by the media and to air their complaints about the process. Thursday’s panel included Nathan Fletcher’s spokeswoman during his campaign, the grandmother of kidnap victim Hannah Anderson, the CEO of the North County Transit District and one of the women who came forward to claim sexual harassment by Bob Filner. You can watch the entire conversation on Youtube.

 Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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