To Richard Barrera, his roles as a San Diego Unified trustee and leader within the local labor movement don’t conflict – they complement each other perfectly. On the school board, Barrera led a deal to hire more union workers for school construction projects, helped elect union-backed school board members and selected Cindy Marten as superintendent without a public search.
The district’s facilities chief and Scott Barnett, the former school bond trustee and a big backer of Proposition Z, defend the district’s use of bond money for items like technology and new stadiums over repairs to school buildings. “There are never press conferences or ribbon-cuttings for new roofs or parking-lot repaving,” Barnett said.
What is surprising: Barnett, a vocal critic of the district’s policy of selling off land, tried to get in on a sale.
Instead of making money by selling off its land, San Diego Unified is trying out a new plan: making money by keeping its land.
School board trustee Kevin Beiser encouraged “Dr. Mike” McQuary to run for the slot being vacated by Scott Barnett, thinking there would be a competitive runoff and a good conversation about district issues. In the end, there was no showdown. Just McQuary.
Critics inside and outside of the school board have predicted budget mismanagement would rear its head right about now. Instead, we have a balanced school budget that prioritizes students.
Scott Barnett, the most outspoken member of San Diego Unified’s school board, joins us on the podcast this week to check in on the progress the district has made.
The initial contract proposal the district sent to the teachers union this week seeks to reboot its system for evaluating teachers.
Scott Barnett’s penchant for going rogue and throwing bombs has been well documented. But his sustained attack on a colleague is bold even for him.
The district is relying on two main strategies: encouraging some staff members to retire early and selling off its land.