Porter Elementary / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This week, Will Huntsberry has checked San Diego Unified’s progress on an ambitious initiative to deliver quality schools in every neighborhood by 2020.

In his latest piece, Huntsberry turns to District E in southeastern San Diego where seven schools qualify as some of the state’s worst-performing, underscoring the district’s struggle to meet its Vision 2020 target even despite impressive gains on some other fronts.

Huntsberry notes that the low-performing schools in southeastern San Diego not only rank among the lowest due to test scores but also when it comes to suspension rates or absences – and that community members have been calling for more resources to combat those issues for years.

And worse yet, Huntsberry found that Porter Elementary and Knox Middle have ranked in the bottom two categories across all metrics measured by the state Department of Education for two years in a row.

Keashonna Christopher, a counselor at Porter who has also worked at Knox, said she believes those outcomes wouldn’t be tolerated elsewhere in the city.

“Parents will voice their concerns and sometimes there will be a forum to hear them out.  But then actual follow-up for action items doesn’t happen. … It doesn’t turn into actual outcomes,” Christopher told Huntsberry.

  • Meanwhile, a San Diego Unified task force created to help the district better handle sexual misconduct complaints released 19 recommendations this week. Huntsberry boils them down in his latest education column: “The key recommendation is the district will “create a culture of reporting” through new and improved trainings. Other recommendations were vague and consisted of future plans to revise procedures. Others simply mention laws and policies that are already on the books.”

Atkins Pledges Action on Housing Production Following SB 50 Fail

State Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego promised to champion legislation this year to accelerate lagging housing production in the state in the aftermath of the latest collapse of SB 50.

On Thursday, after three years of effort, the state Senate rejected the blockbuster bill that would have removed housing density limits near transit for the second time in 24 hours.

The Los Angeles Times reports the bill came three votes short of passing amid opposition from some state senators and activists who argued it failed to adequately tackle the state’s low-income housing gap and took too much power away from local governments.

Shortly after the vote, Atkins – who earlier this month tried to save the bill by pulling it from the Senate Appropriations Committee – said she remains convinced the state needs legislation to ramp up homebuilding and tackle the state’s affordability crisis but that SB 50 wasn’t the right vehicle. She pledged to work on another option.  

“We need to reset the conversation,” Atkins said. “So I am making the commitment to you today that in the coming weeks I will be meeting with stakeholders on all sides to find a way forward on a housing production bill that can pass both houses and get the governor’s signature.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom soon issued his own statement praising Atkins’ commitment to a “historic housing production bill.”

News Roundup

  • San Diego County health officials say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still investigating the region’s first potential coronavirus case. (KPBS)
  • The city’s Planning Commission unanimously gave the go-ahead Thursday to a proposed 404-unit affordable housing project in Clairemont set to replace a former sheriff’s department crime lab. (Union-Tribune)
  • Chula Vista teachers staged a walkout Wednesday in a bid for salary increases and no increased class sizes. (10News)
  • The city can move forward with a planned connector road between Interstate 805 and Friars Road following a judge’s ruling against residents who claimed more environmental analysis was needed. (Union-Tribune) 

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, and edited by Sara Libby.

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