Cindy Marten speaking at the 2014 State of the District. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

We’ve heard a lot of people ringing alarm bells lately over massive special education staffing shortages in San Diego Unified – first parents who warned that budget cuts could lead to unsafe classrooms, then school administrators who said they were watching chaos play out before their eyes.

Now Maya Srikrishnan has gathered some more alarming stories that drive home the severity of the staffing shortage and the ways they impact some of the most vulnerable kids.

Many children with special needs require full-time aides in the classroom. Parents whose kids have no access or irregular access to aides say that the situation is dangerous.

One parent said her daughter, who is nonverbal, has wandered out of the classroom at least twice. Another parent said she’s found rocks and even a paper clip in her child’s stool.

Though special education classrooms face aide and teacher shortages every year, this year things are especially bad: “San Diego Unified has 100 special education aide vacancies. The district also has roughly 11 full-time teacher vacancies, nearly all for classes for students with the most severe disabilities,” Srikrishnan writes. “Another 37 positions for special education-credentialed teachers are currently filled by interns.”

Artists Use Border Prototypes for Border Protest

Artists have long used the border wall as a backdrop for art that comments on issues like immigration and human rights. In the Culture Report, VOSD’s Kinsee Morlan covers the latest act of protest art at the border.

Last Saturday, about a dozen people, including photographer Jill Holslin, artist Andrew Sturm and folks from the activist groups Overpass Light Brigade-San Diego and People Over Profits of San Diego drove to the Tijuana side of the existing border wall, right across from the spot where eight border wall prototypes have been built in Otay Mesa.

They parked near the border fence and stood on top of their cars and trucks and projected light through stencils, creating images of a human figure climbing upward, a ladder and other anti-border messages. Photos and a video of the projections on the border prototypes have been shared hundreds of times.

Also in our weekly roundup of arts and culture news: Yet another discussion about what plagues San Diego’s art scene, bench art takes on that infamous Barrio Logan fruteria and much more.

Gondolas, Pot and the Supes

County Supervisor Ron Roberts went on KPBS to talk about the most pressing of issues. No, not hepatitis A. No, not SANDAG’s scandals. I’m referring of course to his gondola plan, which is still a thing.

Then there’s the race to replace Roberts, who is term-limited: The cannabis industry is gearing up to donate big in that race and other county supervisor races in hopes of creating a pot-friendly board, reports the Union-Tribune.

“Several members of the industry said they are supporting former state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, but they also believe that attorney Omar Passons and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña will also support their interests,” the U-T reports. “They also said they will not support Bonnie Dumanis, the former district attorney who prosecuted members of the industry when she was in law enforcement.”

In Other News

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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