Jim Groth at Harborside Elementary School in Chula Vista on October 7, 2022.
Jim Groth at Harborside Elementary School in Chula Vista on Oct. 7, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

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Backed by new money from the state, San Diego school districts are launching community school programs, which are schools that provide students more services than just classroom instruction. Chula Vista Elementary School District recently received $200,000 to plan its community school initiative.

But the concept isn’t new. Elements of the community school approach have existed for around 100 years. In Jakob McWhinney’s latest The Learning Curve newsletter, he explores the history of the approach at one Chula Vista elementary school through the eyes of Jim Groth, the former director of the community school program at Harborside Elementary.

Read more about Groth’s experience

Universal Transitional Kindergarten Is Adding Stress to the Private Childcare Industry

At Saturday’s Politifest, most of the experts on the childcare panel agreed that California’s $2.7 billion universal transitional kindergarten program was a good thing. They weren’t so rosy, however, about how the program’s been rolled out and unintended consequences it has had on the already beleaguered private childcare industry.

The panelists said the program’s current curriculum, which is essentially kindergarten curriculum transcribed for younger children, may not be the best way to teach 4-year-olds, and that the half-day of care it offers isn’t a real solution for working families. That’s partly why San Diego Unified school board candidate Shana Hazan opted not to enroll her child in a district universal transitional kindergarten program.

The panelists also outlined how UTK is luring 4-year-olds — the most profitable age group for private childcare providers, because they require fewer adults — away from private providers, causing their already tight margins between costs and tuition revenue to shrink even more.

Read more about the shortcomings of the current UTK program.

Fletcher: CARE Court Won’t Solve Homeless Crisis

CARE Court is the new state system legislators and the governor implemented to make it easier to compel people with serious mental illnesses into facilities. But if people believe it will be a silver bullet solution to the state’s homelessness crisis, Nathan Fletcher, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, isn’t one of them.

At Politifest on Saturday, Fletcher said he is championing the county’s early CARE Court implementation efforts but that the new program isn’t “unilaterally, singularly going to alleviate all of the suffering and poverty in the world.”

So how many San Diegans – homeless or housed – does the county expect to serve via CARE Court?

TBD, as our Lisa Halverstadt writes.

Fletcher said the county is working with the state to project how many San Diegans might qualify for the program and what services they will need. The program is expected to start next summer. Per state law, the county must implement CARE Court by October 2023 and could face up to $1,000 a day fines if it can’t connect patients with civil court-ordered care. 

Fletcher and Mayor Todd Gloria, a vocal supporter of the reforms pushed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, also acknowledged there will likely be hiccups in the program’s initial months.

Read the full story.

One step so far: The Union-Tribune reported that county supervisors on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the county to proceed with a series of steps to improve the region’s behavioral health system at a time when the county’s budget situation appears to be darkening.

Miss Politifest? We Got You

As you can tell, we thought there was a lot of newsworthy content on stages at Politifest. We’re gathering it all here.

After Delay, San Diego Presses Ahead with Cannabis Equity

Spurred by data showing racial disparities in arrests and that White folks own an outsized share of the local cannabis businesses, the San Diego City Council approved an equity program intended to help people of color with previous drug convictions enter the industry.

As the Union-Tribune reports, folks who are eligible could get start-up loans, fee waivers, help finding business sites and other assistance.

Council President Sean Elo-Rivera identified the fundamental inequity at the center of legalization: “We had some members of the community, especially the Black community, who were locked up and locked down as a result of participating in something that many other members of society were openly engaging in. And then the doors were thrown open to a market and those with the most resources were able to rush through and start hoarding the profits…”

Cannabis-equity programs already on the books in other cities have had a limited impact. If there was a bright side to the delay, some officials remarked, it’s that San Diego has been able to learn from other city’s mistakes.

But one immediate problem is that most of the city’s permits have already been issued. As KPBS points out, the success of San Diego’s new program is dependent on land use changes, and city staff are expected to return next year with recommendations. The zoning rules were previously approved by a more conservative mayor and City Council and subsequently criticized for creating a fiercely competitive market accessible only to the wealthy. 

In Other News

  • A federal jury awarded $5 million to a man who filed a civil rights case against the county alleging excessive force after being stopped and restrained. As the U-T reports, the verdict came months after a judge sanctioned the deputy and attorneys representing the Sheriff’s Department, concluding they had “willfully concealed” evidence.
  • U-T columnist Michael Smolens argues that campaign advertising sometimes pushes the ethical limit, but mailers presenting Republican-backed candidates as Democrats in Carlsbad and La Mesa blow past it
  • San Diego County health officials are investigating an outbreak of respiratory and flu-like symptoms reported among a large number of students at Patrick Henry High School. (City News Service)
  • Three officers have been reprimanded by the Navy’s Special Warfare Command for the recent death of a SEAL candidate at the Navy’s Coronado training center.  (AP)
  • Weeks before the ribbon cutting of a 14-story housing complex for homeless people a window washer fell to his death. The family of the man has sued, alleging that in a rush to open the complex basic inspections didn’t take place. (CBS 8)

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, Jesse Marx and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrew Keatts.

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