A Sherman Elementary kindergarten class. / File photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

When thinking about the sort of childhood she wanted for her son, Dana Cole imagined him being able to walk with friends from the neighborhood to school. She’s the kind of person who knows all of her neighbors, and for whom developing a community is important. 

That’s why she chose to send her son to transitional kindergarten at their neighborhood school, Foster Elementary, when San Diego Unified bypassed the statewide phase-in period and made transitional kindergarten available to all 4-year-olds. 

But getting him registered for transitional kindergarten at Foster wasn’t a simple feat. It required multiple calls and trips to the school. Still, overall she’s been satisfied with her son’s experience in transitional kindergarten.  

Background: San Diego Unified’s transitional kindergarten program provided an influx of new students that helped the district shrink its rate of enrollment decline to the lowest level in at least four years. But district officials view it as more than just an isolated influx and a potential new pipeline of students that may stick around long-term if their experience in TK is good. 

Education reporter Jakob McWhinney spoke with Cole about her experience for the latest Learning Curve. He writes that for parents like Cole, who were already planning on sending their kids to public school, there was no convincing needed. So, the jury’s still out on if that strategy will prove effective, and likely will be for years to come.

Read the Learning Curve here.

The Latest Spike in SDG&E Bills Is a Doozy

Power lines along the alley behind North Park Towers / Photo by Ariana Drehsler for Voice of San Diego

This time last year, energy prices suddenly shot up, sparking a barrage of criticism and even an audit of San Diego Gas and Electric. This January, it’s way worse. 

The cost of natural gas is up 116 percent from last January and utilities are blaming a slew of factors including the global gas market, a spike in demand from a winter cold snap, a pipeline capacity problem in West Texas and low stockpiles of the fossil fuel.

If a San Diegan paid $105 on their gas bill last January, expect this month’s bill to be $225, according to an SDG&E news release.

Read more about the spike here. 

Previously Secret Police Misconduct Records Are Now Public

San Diego Police parked in the middle of the road in Hillcrest on Dec. 20, 2022. / Photo by Gabriel Schneider for Voice of San Diego

The Union-Tribune reports that more than 80 investigatory files were recently released by San Diego police under SB 16, a state law passed in 2021. Those records detail instances of unlawful arrest, excessive force, discrimination and more — in some cases going back decades.

Some police officials argue, as KPBS noted, that increased scrutiny on past mistakes will make it harder to recruit and retain people, but others believe the release will help improve community relations.

California has long had some of the strictest police privacy laws in the nation, but legislation in more years has chipped away at that. Another notable transparency law, SB 1421, went into effect in 2019, but the rollout on the local level was slow. Some agencies at the time declined to even search for the old records, ignored court orders or destroyed the files before the public could see them.

SB 16 sets retention rules that require agencies to keep misconduct records for at least five years and an extra 10 years if the complaint is sustained. San Diego police told the U-T that they keep theirs for the entire length of an officer’s career plus three years after they leave the department. 

In Other News

  • Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that required migrants to wait in Mexico, continues to lead to long waits for those hoping to cross into the US and has left Tijuana shelters full. (inewsource)
  • A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of two local residents against Southwest Airlines, whose customers were stranded during the holidays because of the company’s scheduling snafu. (CBS)

The Morning Report was written by Jakob McWhinney, MacKenzie Elmer and Jesse Marx. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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