Crawford High School after the celebration of the new three-story facility in El Cerrito on Feb. 8, 2023.
Crawford High School after the celebration of the new three-story facility in El Cerrito on Feb. 8, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Schools in San Diego’s poorer areas are still having a tough time attracting their neighborhood kids to attend. That’s what our education reporter Jakob McWhinney shows in his latest story.

Despite San Diego Unified’s pledged commitment to elevating every neighborhood school to attract and retain its own students, the trend is the same: Schools in wealthier areas do better keeping local kids in local desks. And, schools with the lowest neighborhood attendance rates have more students enrolled in charter schools. 

Neighborhood schools that produce higher English and math test scores, though, do retain more of their neighborhood kids. That’s true for schools in La Jolla, Scripps Ranch and University City and closely correlate with the income of a school’s community.

San Diego Unified school board member Richard Barrera believes the benefits of investments in neighborhood schools – like the new Logan Memorial Educational Campus – have yet to be realized. The brand new school, the most expensive in San Diego Unified’s history, replaced what was once the school parents avoided most. 

Read the full story here. 

What Big Water Bill Discounts Could Look like for San Diego

Waterfront Park in downtown on Aug. 28, 2023.
Waterfront Park in downtown on Aug. 28, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

We’re adding another crisis to the list: the cost of H20. But in fact, water is the only basic necessity in California that doesn’t come at a discount to those who can least afford it. 

Low-income Californians can get discounts on electric and gas and phone bills. But when it comes to water, uncertainty over state law is in the way. That leaves everyone paying the same price for water no matter your background or burden.

New research from the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center filled in a data gap. Based on data from Jennifer Lee at Duke University, the Policy Center crafted a tool backed by water bill data showing how these discounts might affect city budgets. Turns out, it ain’t that bad.

For instance, it would cost $10 million per year to give the city of San Diego’s poorest half off their water bills up to 4,000 gallons of monthly use. That’s 0.2 percent of the city’s $5 billion budget. As San Diego gets more and more expensive (it’s already the most expensive city in the country) the water cost problem will only intensify the financial burden of cash-strapping families now.

“There are enough children living in San Diego from a family of four making less than $30,000 a year to fill Petco Park. Twice,” said Dan Enemark, chief economist at the San Diego policy center. “People need any help they can get.” 

Read the Environment Report here.

The Environment Report is Elmer’s bi-weekly environmental news roundup and other interesting science stuff. Subscribe here for free so you don’t miss a beat.   

In Other News 

  • For years, Barrio Logan residents have complained of a foul odor from New Leaf Biofuels, a biodiesel factory. (Our MacKenzie Elmer wrote about how the company found itself fighting against a hardfought deal over Barrio Logan’s new zoning map that limits industrial businesses next to living spaces back in 2021.) Now, KPBS reports that the company is closing its fuel-processing operations in the neighborhood because of community pushback and operating regulations. 
  • The Union-Tribune takes a look at the 20-year anniversary of the deadly Cedar fire. 
  • Port of San Diego Commissioners recently approved $1.5 million for repairs to a pier in Imperial Beach. (NBC 7) Related: The city of National City is standing by Commissioner Sandy Naranjo, who was censured two weeks ago by the board. In a press release, the city’s intern manager wrote that National City was dissatisfied with the decision to censure. (Union-Tribune)  
  • A woman who was stuck for 16 hours in an East County cave was rescued Sunday. (FOX 5) 

Correction: The original version of the Politics Report Saturday incorrectly implied that the city of San Diego would submit its own amicus brief in support of the city of Grants Pass’ appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over rulings about what cities must offer homeless residents before prosecuting or citing them for illegally camping in public areas. In fact, San Diego already signed on to Seattle’s brief

The Morning Report was written by MacKenzie Elmer and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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