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A year after San Diego Unified schools cut dozens of resource teachers for English-learners, the students’ parents say little has been done to fill the gap for one of the district’s most vulnerable populations.

Last summer, Superintendent Cindy Marten made the decision to shuffle some teaching positions in an effort to save money, butting up against a tough budget deadline. Each school was told to cut one full-time position. Fifty-two SDUSD schools ended up cutting the English-learner support teachers, ELSTs for short.

At the time, parents feared there’d be less direct support for English-learners, and no one really understood the new system the district promised would adequately serve these kids.

Now it appears to them their fears were warranted, though the district says it’s got a firm plan in place. Big picture, more responsibility for English-learners has shifted to the district’s central office. Mario Koran lays out several strategies San Diego Unified will try out, including activating committees of parents for this specific group of students, and stepping up the quality of teaching.

‘The Only Comic-Con Story You’ll Ever Need’

Seeing as we’ve just hammered out several Comic-Con stories intended to help you understand what the annual comics and pop culture bonanza means to San Diego, I’m going to have to challenge the premise of The Concourse’s headline. San Diego-native Justin Halpern’s recollection from the early 2000s jumped out to me mostly because of its less-than-flattering depiction of his, and our, SoCal-situated brethren: “it’s basically Boston if the weather was great and 40 percent of the Massholes swam in the ocean a few times a week. If the city had a mascot, it’d be a 5-foot-7-inch shirtless dude calling someone a homo as he’s being held back by a girl in 6-inch platform sandals.”

Yikes.

Those Comic-Con stories I mentioned dominated our most-read stories list over the weekend, along with Scott Lewis’ take on the rumblings in town to change how San Diego does primary elections.

We just had Jen Jacobs, a political strategist, on the podcast to talk about those rumblings. Check out her interview about 23 minutes into the show.

Quick News Hits

• Thing to watch this week: City Council is deciding on Tuesday whether to approve $2.1 million for a new environmental impact report re: a new stadium on the Qualcomm site. A little perspective: That’s more than the city spent on many of the crucial community plan updates San Diego’s dragged its feet on.

San Diego’s $3.5 billion proposal for recycling sewage into drinking water is forcing state officials to rethink the rules on water purification. That’s because San Diego doesn’t have adequate groundwater basins and aquifers that state rules require for purified sewer water before it can head into the local water supply. San Diego officials want to pump the recycled water into city reservoirs, cutting the amount of time needed for the whole recycling process, but also potentially presenting health concerns.

According to the Union-Tribune, “it could also make San Diego a model for the many other drought-stricken cities in the West that lack [groundwater] basins but still see recycling sewer water as their best option.”

 During the special mayoral election last February between Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez, San Diego served as the testing grounds for the national GOP’s efforts to kick up voter turnout. (Bloomberg Politics)

 Assemblywoman Shirley Weber is looking into why electricity costs have jumped dramatically for school districts around San Diego County. The Union-Tribune reported 38 of those districts are fighting SDG&E over further rate increases. We’ve dug into the big challenge that electricity costs pose for San Diego businesses – that applies to schools here, too.

Nicole Capretz, who heads San Diego’s Climate Action Campaign, piped up on Twitter that the city is also feeling the hurt in electricity costs.

• The Union-Tribune’s got a compelling profile of Juan Carlos Viñolo, who along with nine other cyclists, was hit by a car on Fiesta Island during an evening ride in August last year. I gasped at this line: “How odd, he thought, to see his knees resting next to his left ear.” 

We Watch Social Media So You Don’t Have to

• Probably the most important bit of mundane celebrity behaviors I’ve learned about in the last year is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s habit of (aggressively) encouraging fellow gym-goers distracted by his famous-person aura to focus on their workouts. To that end, if someone were so motivated to create one, I would most definitely follow a Tumblr dedicated to ex-Chargers player Shawne Merriman shaming people at the gym.

• Nothing like a good triumph through adversity to start your #motivationmonday. Equinox Center Managing Director Stephen Heverly posted this inspiring video from Comic-Con’s “Assassin’s Creed” obstacle course. If the guy on tape can get up that ramp, you can handle responding to the passive-aggressive email you’re avoiding.

• Maybe inewsource’s ongoing investigation has gotten to local attorney Cory Briggs, who’s taken to tweeting encouraging quotes to remind himself to forget the haters. “Jersey Shore” icon Sammi feels you, Briggs.

Catherine Green

Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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