San Diego Unified is overwhelmed by troubles. But Superintendent Cindy Marten is unwilling to publicly confront the problems that parents and students have to deal with every day.

That’s Scott Lewis’ conclusion in a new column that takes stock of Unified and what ails it. The list of head-scratches and scandals is staggering.

The school system’s financials don’t make sense. The district has more employees, fewer students but somehow the class sizes are not smaller. The school district collected billions to repair schools, but buildings are in worse shape.

Some of the schools most in need of strong leadership still don’t have it. The district drug its feet finding a principal for one school that badly needed one.

And on and on. The district is stuck in denial or playing defense. Lewis ties it all together — Marten has been on the job for four years and the central tension present when she took office is still dominant, he writes.

Speaking of Problems: District lawyers rushed to court to stop the College Board from invalidating hundreds of Advanced Placement tests the Board says the district improperly administered. If the legal move fails, students will have to retake the tests.

Border Report: Across the Aisle, Across the Border

California politicians on both sides of the aisle wade into border issues and there’s lots of news — some good, some bad — for children seeking refuge in the United States. That and more in this week’s roundup of border news by contributor Brooke Binkowski.

In Other News

• This is an annual tradition, it seems, but it’s still something: The photograph of people on the Mexican side of the border watching San Diego fireworks on the Fourth.

• Qualcomm’s corporate campus is valued at $1.4 billion, making the company and its 15 parcels of land the most-taxed set of properties in the county. Overall, assessed land values rose by 6 percent in the past year, though because of state anti-tax laws, most taxpayers will see their property taxes rise by no more than 2 percent. (Union-Tribune)

• The San Diego Association of Governments is not the only regional transportation agency in the state. KPBS compares it to the others and shows what makes each of them unique, other than their acronyms, which are sometimes friendlier than others — SANDAG, SCAG, LACMTA, OCTA, MTC and BART. (KPBS)

• Del Mar is investigating its chief lifeguard for reasons that remain unclear. But that isn’t going over so well, because scores of people have demanded the city reinstate the lifeguard who has been on paid administrative leave since early spring. According to the city’s mayor, the investigation has been rather extensive: more than 20 witnesses have been interviewed and hundreds of pages of records will be used in some final report on the matter, whatever it is. (The Coast News Group)

• A terminally ill artist known as “The Sandman” who uses sand to make art on city streets received a ticket from Coronado’s police department, which was apparently unhappy with his work. (NBC San Diego)

• New District Attorney Summer Stephan tweeted a photo of her trip to Sacramento where she asked Gov. Jerry Brown to keep behind bars a 55-year-old man who killed San Diego Police Officer Archie Buggs in 1978.

• The food safety scientist who helped turn around Jack in the Box after a deadly E. Coli outbreak there in the early-1990s has died. The Union-Tribune has a touching obituary of the man, David Theno.

• A new stadium in Mission Valley or downtown. Why not split the difference and rebuild Balboa Stadium, which was opened next to San Diego High School over a century ago but was demolished in the 1970s? (Union-Tribune)

• City government has 40 or so advisory boards but of the 334 spots on them, about half are vacant, according to a recent audit. City officials are looking to improve things. (Times of San Diego)

• A Bay City Brewing Co. session IPA has become San Diego’s “official beer,” according to the San Diego Tourism Authority. (ABC 10)

Ry Rivard was formerly a reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about water and power.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.