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Not all kids can make it work at traditional public schools.
Those who can’t often find themselves enrolling at charter schools that offer online courses and independent study programs.
It’s been a mutually beneficial relationship between charter schools, which get new students and the state funding that follows them, and San Diego Unified School District, which sheds its lowest-performing students and boosts its graduation rates.
But as our Mario Koran reports, the district now wants to stop that flow of struggling students to online charters.
San Diego Unified, along with Grossmont Union, are suing to shut down Diego Hills and its sister school, Diego Valley. The lawsuit says the schools are operating illegally in districts that didn’t give them permission to be there.
Meanwhile, San Diego Unified has gotten to work building out programs that mimic the same programs they want to shut down, in an effort to keep students and the government funding that follows them from leaving.
“The district is betting that if it expands its online programs, fewer students will leave for charter schools that offer flexible schedules and online courses,” Koran writes.
But Koran talks to a few online charter school students whose stories illustrate why that might be a losing bet.
Town Halls Gone Wild
People have been pushing hard to get Reps. Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa to hold town hall meetings and answer mounting questions and concerns from constituents worried about health care, immigration and possible presidential ties to Russia.
On Saturday, both finally did and the events were rowdy and raucous. (U-T)
You can listen to audio and see photos of Issa’s back-to-back town halls here thanks to the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union, and here’s a Facebook video of Hunter’s event (spoiler: Hunter brings up Queen’s “We Are the Champions” song multiple times, convinced those pushing back against him were just sore-loser Democrats.)
Domestic Abuse Victims Offered Forensic Exams
Thanks to a new grant, some domestic violence victims in San Diego County can now get access to exams that provide valuable medical evidence that could help put their abusers behind bars, reports the Union-Tribune.
Forensic exams for victims of sexual assault and child abuse have long been used to aid prosecutors. Performed by specially trained nurses, the exams can produce solid evidence in cases that are often hard to prove.
Now domestic abuse survivors will have access to those same exams, but when the grant money runs out, the program will go away unless local leaders see the new program’s value and step up to permanently fund it.
More on San Diego Unified’s Coming Layoffs
Those who will lose their jobs due to San Diego Unified’s budget shortfall will find out about their plights this week when pink slips go out on March 15.
Michael Smolens writes that the district shouldn’t give in to temptation and rescind some of the layoffs even if it ends up getting more money than expected from the state.
“San Diego Unified has gone down this path before, raining pink slips down on hundreds of employees only to withdraw most and sometimes all of the layoff threats,” writes Smolens.
• Smolens cites 977 full-time positions as the number of district employees being laid off, but as VOSD’s Ashly McGlone reported, that number has been bouncing all over the place in recent weeks.
Weekend News Roundup
• An unattended backpack prompted a 911 call and a brief evacuation at the Mariachi Festival in National City Sunday.
• Imperial Beach’s shoreline has finally been declared safe by environmental officials after the huge sewage spill in Tijuana dirtied the waters. (Associated Press)
• Some residents in Solana Beach think the city can, and should, do better when it comes to the public art destined for an important gateway to the city. (U-T)
• U-T columnist Dan McSwain doesn’t think the SoccerCity proposal to redevelop Mission Valley’s Qualcomm Stadium site is a con like some critics have claimed, but he also lists a few big caveats and concerns about the plan.
• Amazon recently set up an actual real-world shop in Solana Beach and now it’s putting together the team that will work there. (San Diego Business Journal)
• To see the desert wildflower bloom in Anza-Borrego or not – that is the big question for lots of San Diegans right now. (NBC7)
I hesitated about driving to Borrego Springs on Sunday because I kept seeing posts from folks who said they’d gone and it was a dud. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not. It’s bloom-tastic and the smells are just as grand as the sights. I do have to warn you about the traffic, though, because it’s bad (like, don’t even try going to the visitor center if you drive into town after 9 a.m.). What you can and should do is a lot of online research to figure out your general route. This website helped me out. Also, a townie told me that the first week of April is the best weekend to go this year. I have no idea if that’s true.
IMO, it was worth the drive and the crowds just to see this one rad desert lily.