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Often when public school districts want to get rid of a tenured teacher, they pay the teacher to leave voluntarily in a resignation deal. More rarely, they forego the path to settlement and proceed with terminating the teacher for cause.

The Grossmont Union High School District presented evidence to a state commission earlier this year that a physical education teacher inappropriately touched and talked to students, and his firing was upheld. Now the teacher is taking his case to court to try to get his job back and the pay he lost.

He claims he touched students to prevent injury and referred to student bikini bodies to motivate them. In court documents, he calls the district’s investigation “shoddy” and claims he was denied due process.

The ongoing dispute highlights how difficult it can be for public school districts to terminate tenured teachers in California, even when the state panel overseeing termination disputes agrees with the decision. Grossmont officials said the investigation and termination effort has cost more than $130,000 so far. The next court date is scheduled for Sept. 7.

The story is the latest in a series of VOSD reports that reveal how local school districts have dealt with reports of sexual misconduct by employees. Sometimes a pattern of misconduct is documented by districts for years as teachers remain on the job. Sometimes employees move from place to place. At times, just getting the records from local school districts under the state’s public records laws has been a challenge.

Grossmont district officials have had their hands full with misconduct concerns lately, investigating at least three other educators earlier this year, NBC San Diego reported.

Bread & Salt Is Getting … Bread

An art center that set up shop inside a former Logan Heights bread factory seven years ago plans to bring back bread and other baked goods for sale, as well as cooking classes and pop-up food events. The project housed inside the Bread & Salt warehouse will be called Pan & Sal.

One backer “envisions grandmas who live nearby and are revered in their families for making delicious dishes using Pan & Sal as a platform to possibly launch a new catering company, or just hosting a pop-up and inviting their family to come and enjoy the space,” writes VOSD’s Kinsee Morlan in the latest Culture Report.

Port and Airport Settle Rental Car Fee Dispute

San Diego International Airport will exit a lawsuit challenging the legality of a $3.50 rental car fee imposed by the Port of San Diego to build a $40 million parking garage in Chula Vista under a settlement reached this week.

In exchange for dropping its challenge, the Port agreed to give the Airport 30 days’ notice and meet and confer rights for future fees and taxes on airport property businesses. The Port also assured the Airport the resurrected fee will only pay for the one parking structure and will cease as soon as the structure is paid for.

VOSD broke the news about the beef earlier this month, which angered South Bay leaders who said the airport’s involvement threatened Chula Vista’s long-planned bayfront development project. Scott Lewis dug into the particulars of the legal challenge brought by two rental car companies that allege the fee is actually a tax that needs voter approval. The litigation between the Port and Hertz and Enterprise Rent-A-Car remains active.

Read the full settlement here.

After Mayors Hit San Diego Power Plan, Mayor’s Man Hits Back

On Monday, mayors from three San Diego County cities wrote in an op-ed that they worry about what may happen if the city of San Diego switches to a new system of purchasing its own electricity.

SDG&E would still deliver the power, but a new agency within the city would find all the long-term contracts for where it comes from. The other cities’ mayors are concerned about what SDG&E contracts they would be left trying to pay for. “Shifting costs from ratepayers in San Diego to ratepayers in neighboring cities is completely unacceptable,” they wrote.

Tuesday, Craig Gustafson, a spokesman for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, fired back: “Those mayors are worried about shifting energy costs but are fine with the City of SD providing more than its fair share of homeless services while they do next to nothing. Also, hep A outbreak started in El Cajon,” he wrote on Twitter.

In Other News


Monday’s Border Report misidentified the agency that processes travelers through the ports of entry. It is Customs and Border Protection.

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