Moira Allbritton devotes at least five hours every week to the needs of San Diego Unified students with disabilities. She is a stay-at-home mom with five kids in Pacific Beach who leads a parent committee on special education, a job that consists largely of combing through emails and fine-tuning meeting agendas.
“It’s kind of mundane stuff,” Allbritton said.
If a new campaign to remake the San Diego Unified school board wins out, her humdrum post could become one of the most powerful positions in the district. Allbritton would sit on a nine-member committee charged with picking four appointed school board members to expand upon the elected five-member board.
Under the unusual new plan plugged by San Diegans 4 Great Schools, the deciders would include: parents who lead school district committees for students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged kids, English learners and gifted students; four leaders of local universities and a representative from one of two local business groups.
Granting such important powers to such a small group has unquestionably been the most hotly debated part of the campaign: Would these nine people do a better job than the 200,000-plus voters who usually decide whether someone gets onto the school board or not?
San Diegans 4 Great Schools argues that the new group would be insulated from the political and financial pressures that drive school board elections. They say that the existing method has given “special interests” — both business and labor — too much influence. And they believe that dedicated parents and outside leaders would be more likely to pick qualified leaders with educational expertise.