Ashly McGlone

Ashly is an investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego. She can be reached at ashly.mcglone@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5669.

San Diego County schools shelled out millions in taxpayer money for new FieldTurf fields, only to have them quickly fall apart. The company then demanded more money to upgrade schools to a better product, called Revolution. Now some of those fields are having issues too. One solution: dumping gallons of glue onto the fields to make them stronger.

School board trustees recently voted to eliminate the district’s internal audit office. It’s not clear how that move would comply with a state law that prevents schools from freely outsourcing employee jobs – something the district said it plans to do. The district’s legal counsel said she’s confident the plan passes legal muster.

In 2000, California voters made it easier to pass school bonds, but they included a caveat: The money can’t be spent on employee salaries. So it may come as a surprise to learn school districts statewide have been freely — and legally — spending bond money on employee salaries and benefits for more than a decade.

How many positions are being lost as part of San Diego Unified’s budget cuts? Depending on who you ask, it’s either 400 to 500, or “more than 800,” or 850, or 977 or more than 1,500. The district’s own documents and top officials have only added to the confusion.

San Diego Unified’s Quality Assurance Office was supposed to be a hub of accountability where parents, students and employees could get their complaints heard and investigated. But hundreds of pages of testimony from one of multiple lawsuits involving the office show decisions about student safety were made without crucial information, and other troubling issues.

San Diego Unified officials expect the average condition of school buildings to improve from poor to fair by July 2024, but it’ll take millions from the state and the district’s own general fund – on top of two existing multibillion-dollar school bonds – to make it happen.

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