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Officials with Sweetwater Union High School District have offered little explanation for a $30 million budget hole, discovered last September, which has led to ongoing cuts in the district. Those cuts have apparently not been sufficient.
Late last week, the County Office of Education accused the district of misstating its financial situation by millions of dollars.
New emails obtained by Voice of San Diego’s Will Huntsberry show district officials actually knew they were approaching a financial cliff and did not take steps to reverse course.
In spring 2017, the district raised salaries by 5.25 percent. One audit pointed to that as a reason the district is in a financial crisis. But Sweetwater officials have said they thought the raises were affordable. The new documents, though, show that was not the case. Projections within them showed the raises could make the district insolvent within just two years.
The district’s then-chief financial officer planned to take this information up the district’s cabinet and superintendent, according to the emails.
Sweetwater spokesman Manny Rubio did not say whether Superintendent Karen Janney was informed of the financial projections. “We talk about finance at pretty much every cabinet meeting. I don’t know if these specific [documents] came up,” he said.
That other bit: The County Office of Ed did not approve Sweetwater’s proposed budget, meaning Sweetwater will have to revise it.
- This week in the Politics Report: Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis break down a big decision San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer faces and have a couple updates and takes on the race to replace him.
- Speaking of the mayor’s race: Mark Kersey still hasn’t announced his run for mayor. Keatts and Lewis wrote a few weeks back that it was a done deal. Apparently not. Kersey did have some thoughts this weekend about how hard it is to park at Balboa Park, which generated some discussion.
- Just because the legislative fights over SB 50, the measure to increase home-building near transit, and AB 392, the bill to curb police shootings, are done for the year doesn’t mean things will go quiet in Sacramento: Sara Libby rounded up the bills to keep an eye on as the Legislature gets back to work following its August recess.
- Speaking of bills from Sacramento, California’s law requiring publicly traded companies to have at least one woman on their boards of directors is – as expected – being challenged in court. A conservative D.C.-based group is suing to invalidate the law. When then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure, which was co-written by San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins, he acknowledged the legal murkiness: “I don’t minimize the potential flaws that indeed may prove fatal to its ultimate implementation.” Atkins said in a statement that the lawsuit “is merely an effort by a conservative ‘foundation’ to try to erode the landmark progress our state is making not only for women, but for business and our economy.” The law’s requirements are set to kick in Jan. 1, 2020. When Libby examined compliance efforts last month, she found that hundreds of companies in the state, including more than 20 in San Diego, still have all-male boards.
- Political consultant Mason Herron joined the VOSD Podcast this week to read some early tea leaves on political races happening across the county.
In Other News
- The Union-Tribune has details on the border fence replacement happening in Otay Mesa.
- One geologist thinks a larger section of the beach in Encinitas near the site of a deadly cliff collapse should be off limits. (NBC San Diego)
- A San Diego jail inmate was badly disfigured following an attack from a fellow inmate, and officials were warned that the inmate suspected of the attack was behaving aggressively. (Union-Tribune)
- Inspire, a network of 12 home charter schools, is spreading throughout California with the help of its CEO who earns $380,000 a year, and critics are beginning to ask questions about its financial and educational approach. (Union-Tribune) There has been a lot of scrutiny on these sorts of charter school networks lately, with our own Will Huntsberry investigating the “classic conflict of interest” at the heart of the Learn4Life charter schools, and prosecutors bringing charges against another network that allegedly scammed the state out of $80 million.
- Former Rep. Darrell Issa was set to hold a fundraiser in La Jolla Monday for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but a shoulder injury for the Kentucky Republican has forced him to pull out of the event. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby and Will Huntsberry and edited by Scott Lewis.