San Diego Unified and Grossmont Union are suing to shut down certain charter schools that offer online credit-recovery courses and independent study options, saying they’re illegally operating within their boundaries. Meanwhile, San Diego Unified is expanding its own versions of those programs, hoping to capitalize on the growing market for non-traditional education options and hold onto students who would otherwise leave.

Last May, San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten announced that 92 percent of the class of 2016 was on track to graduate. Trustees and supporters hailed it as a colossal success. But it turns out the 92 percent number refers only to students who fit a very specific definition. And it excludes thousands who left district schools.