A signature gatherer outside Petco Park tries to get support for the SDSU West initiative. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

San Diego voters in the last election gave the city permission to sell 132 acres of land in Mission Valley to San Diego State University officials for a campus expansion project.

That project is supposed to break ground next year. But behind closed doors there appears to be significant tension between the university and the city over the terms of the deal.

Ry Rivard reports that the initial public excitement surrounding the negotiations has given way to a secret slog. A major part of the problem is that the city and the university don’t yet agree on what the land is worth — and there are likely additional tensions related to the river park, transit upgrades and the effect of past floods on the value of the land.

“We don’t know what’s being discussed because members of the negotiating teams are bound by a confidentiality agreement each team’s leader signed on March 21,” Rivard notes.

Still, the university has been proceeding as if a deal will happen around the end of the year or early next. SDSU officials have gone on a hiring spree to get architects, construction firms and other consultants lined up sooner than later.

Exactly where the money will come from remains unclear. University officials promised last year not to raise student tuition and fees to pay for the project. 

County Office of Ed Lays Out Student-Teacher Boundaries

Over the last decade, school districts in San Diego County have paid out millions of dollars to students who’ve argued that their schools didn’t have sufficient policies in place to protect them from abusive educators. Kayla Jimenez highlighted several examples in a story last month.

On the heels of that report, the County Office of Education adopted a new policy that governs boundaries between adults and students.

Jimenez writes that the policy will guide staff, students, volunteers and community members in recognizing and maintaining appropriate boundaries with students and provide guidelines on what type of behavior should be reported to authorities. It will also serve as a model for other school districts across the county to potentially adopt.

It only applies to schools under the County Office of Education’s purview, including juvenile court and community schools and some schools serving students with special needs. 

Students Protest in Sweetwater

It was a big week last week for Sweetwater Union High School District students: On Monday, they returned to school – and by Friday, they’d walked out in protest. 

They were protesting some of the cuts the district has implemented in order to deal with its multimillion-dollar budget shortfall, first revealed last year by Voice of San Diego.

Some of those cuts include slashing bus routes for students at San Ysidro High. 

“We want the superintendent to put ‘Students First’ the way they say they do in the district slogan,” said Kimberly Gonzalez, a junior, told VOSD’s Will Huntsberry last week. “They say equity is their main value, but we’re not receiving that.”

VOSD’s Adriana Heldiz was at Friday’s protest. Here are a few of her favorite shots:

San Ysidro High School students protest bus route cuts due to Sweetwater Union High School District’s budget crisis. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
San Ysidro High School students protest bus route cuts due to Sweetwater Union High School District’s budget crisis. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
San Ysidro High School students protest bus route cuts due to Sweetwater Union High School District’s budget crisis. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
San Ysidro High School students protest bus route cuts due to Sweetwater Union High School District’s budget crisis. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
San Ysidro High School students protest bus route cuts due to Sweetwater Union High School District’s budget crisis. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
San Ysidro High School students protest bus route cuts due to Sweetwater Union High School District’s budget crisis. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Politics Roundup

In Their Own Words, Hondurans Explain Why They’re Leaving

Maya Srikrishnan recently traveled to Honduras to better understand what’s driving the exodus to the U.S.-Mexico border. On the latest podcast, you’ll hear directly from the people who left, those who are considering leaving and some who migrated to the United States but were deported back. 

You can also catch up on Srikrishnan’s dispatches: 

The Los Angeles Times reports that on Friday President Trump announced he’d signed an agreement with Guatemala requiring asylum-seekers to make their claim there instead of in the United States. 

The Union-Tribune also has a story on the challenges facing immigrants and attorneys under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. A handful of free or low cost legal service providers, including Jewish Family Services, are taking on cases for families.

Ward Proposes Fix to Sidewalk Policy

Councilman Chris Ward is proposing several changes to the city’s sidewalk repair policy following an update from city staff Wednesday. Ward is asking Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilman Mark Kersey, chair of the transportation and infrastructure committee, to consider reducing permit fees, increase staffing and allocate additional funding among several other requests.

Voice of San Diego’s Megan Wood reported last week that the city anticipates it will need to spend up to $100 million to tackle its current backlog of needed repairs. That’s nearly double what the city estimated four years ago. The budget for repairs this year is $600,000.

“Requests to install, repair and replace sidewalks are one of the most frequent communications that my office receives from constituents,” Ward wrote in a memo. “However, the City’s available resources and capacity to address this issue seems to be severely limited.”

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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