As we continue to dig into San Diego Unified’s record-setting graduation rate of 91 percent, one question we’ve raised is why so many students are leaving the district’s high schools and signing up for charter schools instead. Close to 600 students students lept from the district to charter schools in the 2015-2016 school year, and Mario Koran reports on how the number of students who leave a district school for a charter school can dramatically affect that district school’s graduation rate. “Schools whose graduation rates are rising are simultaneously losing a significant number of students,” Koran reports.
Take Lincoln High, for example. It recently posted a 84.7 percent graduation rate — the best rate since the school re-opened in 2007. But an analysis of student data shows 60 percent of the 2016 Lincoln High class who started as freshmen in 2012 left Lincoln for other schools before graduating. The district tells us that families in San Diego move in and out. Others, however, believe unprepared students are a big part of the problem, such as ninth-graders reading at a second-grade level. “Cindy Barros, head of Lincoln’s parent-teacher organization, suspects most students are leaving Lincoln because they’re behind in credits,” Koran reports.
Culture Report: Beer Space Embraced, Arts Spurned
Ever since it was announced that UCSD would take over the space currently occupied by the outdoor arts, beer and dog space Quartyard, patrons of the space have been fretting over whether the community built around Quartyard will be disbanded. In our most recent Culture Report, Kinsee Morlan writes with good news that Quartyard will live on, in a new space nearby its current location at Park and Market. “On Monday the group announced they’d found a new home on a vacant lot just a block away, at 13th and Market streets,” Morlan reports.
Morlan also reports on how San Diego’s art community is responding to a proposed drop in funding from the city. The program called A Penny for the Arts is turning out to be more like Less Than Half A Penny for the Arts in the current budget, which would slash arts and culture funding by $4.7 million if approved. If the city made good on its penny promise, the budget for arts would be $22 million this year. “But we’ve been allocated so far $10.4 (million),” said Todd Schultz of the San Diego Symphony.
• NBC 7 has some additional details on the new space for Quartyard.
Opinion: Arts Cuts Hurt City
Dalouge Smith, CEO of San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory and a member of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition, is also worried about whether cutting the city’s art budget by 31 percent is the right way to go. From Trolley Dances, to The Old Globe, to the Fleet Science Center, Smith argues such deep cuts will undermine city efforts to draw in tourists.
“Cultural tourists stay longer and spend more money per day,” Smith writes. “At a time when every city in the world is competing to nurture and retain people with 21st century skills, San Diego can’t afford to set itself back.”
Unions in Disarray
The story about woes in the local labor community that we reported Monday night continued to evolve on Tuesday, with eight local labor unions agreeing to join embattled union leader Micky Kasparian and his United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 in an effort to start a new union coalition outside of the Labor Council. On Monday, the national AFL-CIO took control of the local Labor Council, citing long-term internal fights and lawsuits against Kasparian. Kasparian, who is facing a lawsuit accusing him of pressuring an employee into a sexual relationship as well a another for firing an employee for retribution, thinks the new labor group, called San Diego Working Families Council, will allow the unions to focus on the issues “without distractions,” reports the Union-Tribune.
NIMBYs and BANANAs vs. the California Legislature
Sara Libby reports on the veritable gaggle of bills hovering about the California Legislature taking straight aim at that most reviled of groups: NIMBYs. NIMBYs follow the mantra “Not In My Backyard,” and are joined by their sistren BANANAs (Build Almost Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) in advocating for halting development in neighborhoods wherever it may be proposed. “There are more than 100 bills before the California Legislature that address the state’s housing crisis, and a large share of them would crack down on communities that don’t do their part by facilitating the construction of new homes,” Libby writes for CityLab.
One of the bills Libby brings up is written by San Diego Assemblyman Todd Gloria, and would let local housing authorities include middle-income units in new projects.
Regional Water Fight, Round Two
KPBS reports a court battle over $250 million in overcharges for water purchased by the San Diego County Water Authority from the Metropolitan Water District heads to court for an appeal on Wednesday. A previous court agreed that Metropolitan had overcharged SDCWA. It’s another fight we’ve tracked in our coverage of local water wars.
• SeaWorld’s attendance numbers are still down in the doldrums. (Union-Tribune)
• The vaquita porpoise might make it after all. (KPBS)
• Interesting idea: Put used tires into road pavement. Receive grants! (NBC 7)
• The Columbia Journalism Review examines how nonprofit news outlets, including VOSD, are faring. It also mentions the News Revenue Hub, led by VOSD’s Mary Walter-Brown.
• MLB’s got a nice little video commemorating Tony Gwynn. A new statue of Gwynn was unveiled in Poway on Tuesday.
• Naughty Waste Management trucks dumping trash and recycling all into the same truck make people mad. Waste Management promises to clean up its act. (NBC 7)
Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at email@example.com or folllow him on Twitter: @loteck.