The Learning Curve is a weekly column that answers questions about schools using plain language. Have a question about how your local schools work? Write me at Mario.Koran@voiceofsandiego.org. ♦♦♦ Earlier this week, we published a list of the 20 schools in San Diego Unified where the most teachers are facing layoffs. And as has happened in […]

San Diego sits at a binational crossroads, perfectly positioned to provide bilingual job candidates in a variety of fields. But local employers still struggle to find qualified bilingual candidates. Employers, language experts and teachers point to one root cause for the disconnect: a public education system that has restricted bilingual education for the past 18 years.

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.

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.

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.