Poway High School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Poway Unified School District leaders have emphasized what they describe as inadequate state funding as they urge voters to approve $448 million school bond measure.

Before the school board voted last fall to place the measure on the March ballot, Poway’s superintendent claimed that the district is the lowest funded school district in the county and receives $1,500 less per student each year than San Diego Unified.

Our Ashly McGlone fact checked Superintendent Marian Kim Phelps’ claim and decided it was mostly true – with some important caveats.

McGlone found Poway Unified does receive less per student annually but that’s because the district has a smaller population of vulnerable students who bring in additional state aid. The state’s Local Control Funding Formula drives more funding to districts with more students who are English-learners, low income or part of the foster system.

McGlone also noted that Poway has benefited also from Mello Roos funds and private school foundations that have helped pay for new schools and programs, resources that aren’t as readily available to other school districts in the county. 

City Agrees to Pay Harvey, Duncan $1.5M

The City Council has approved a $1.5 million settlement to a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by Aaron Harvey and Brandon Duncan, ending a nearly six-year saga over former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ attempt to use an obscure criminal code to target gang members.

Harvey and Duncan have contended all along that they’re not gang members. But they’re documented in the state’s gang database, which is why Dumanis attempted to charge them with crimes committed by gang members but that her office admitted Harvey and Duncan didn’t actually take part in.

The legal theory ultimately amounted to guilt by association. A Superior Court judge tossed the case against Harvey and Duncan in 2015. 

Dumanis originally blamed community members for being swindled by Harvey and Duncan, but later said she’d listened to the outcry over the case and agreed not to pursue further prosecutions under the statute. District Attorney Summer Stephan, Dumanis’ successor, criticized the case but did not rule out using the same statute in the future.

North County Report: Oceanside Ponders School Closures

Closing public school sites is both rare and controversial, but the Oceanside Unified School District is considering just that next month, as Kayla Jimenez covers in the latest installment of the North County Report.

Students from Garrison Elementary School have been attending San Luis Rey Elementary since last summer, when sinkholes forced Garrison to close. A recent bond measure set aside $25 million to modernize the Garrison campus, but repairing the sinkhole problem could eat up more than half that money.

Now the district is weighing a number of options, and this week held town halls to hear from the communities from both schools. The district could permanently close Garrison and accommodate students at San Luis Rey and other schools, go forward with the sinkhole repairs, close both schools and disperse students elsewhere, or come up with another option entirely.

News Roundup

  • An inewsource analysis finds cities across the county have spent less than half of new money that’s flowed in from a 2017 gas tax increase to repair local streets.
  • County health officials report that the number of flu cases appears to be on the decline but that the death toll has climbed to 50. (City News Service)
  • Hundreds of Americans landed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on a return flight from China early Wednesday and are now set to remain there for two weeks under quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Union-Tribune)
  • San Diego’s housing shortage was a consistent topic of conversation during a Wednesday roundtable on the region’s economic outlook. (Union-Tribune)
  • An op-ed this week argued Measure A was too restrictive, keeping county officials from adopting new, community-specific growth outlines called “specific plans.” In a letter to the editor, a Measure A supporter today argues that is not true.

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

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