Morning Report: Poor Schools Face Disruption Despite Fewer Layoffs
In March, San Diego Unified issued more than 900 layoff notices to school staff, and it was clear that the schools hardest hit by the layoffs were going to be the district’s poorest schools. But budgets change, people retire, numbers get reworked, and the district’s board recently announced it expects the layoffs to hit fewer than 200 district workers (though it hasn’t released final layoff numbers yet). Despite that, the pain of layoffs will probably still sting low-income schools the worst, writes Maya Srikrishnan, thanks to the way layoffs roll through the school systems in California.
“Even once layoff notices are rescinded, the process has a bigger impact on low-income schools, which tend to have more junior employees,” Srikrishnan writes. “Budget cuts can eliminate a position in one school or in the central office, but if the employee in that position is more senior, he or she will be bumped to a different position, where a more junior employee may have been – and that junior employee will either be bumped to another position or laid off.” As churning teachers scramble for the best possible positions, it rolls down to the least wealthy schools, which get an onslaught of new employees who don’t know the school or its students.
• School board Trustee John Lee Evans writes in the Union-Tribune the district needs to do a better job making its budget understandable to the public so we can understand the layoff process.
Cities Squabble Over Sewage Rights
Coronado has emerged victorious from a lawsuit over whether the small island community would control 200,000 gallons of sewage it expects to result from a new 170-acre Navy facility being built nearby. Imperial Beach had also laid claim to the trove of human waste, and an unusual argument broke out: too many people wanted to get their hands on a whole bunch of sewage. The court case was one sign that sewage has become a valuable commodity in recent years as water agencies across California work on recycling projects to turn it into water that’s clean enough to spread on lawns or even drink.
Test Re-Takes Prompt Lawsuit
A saga continues to unfold in Scripps Ranch, where some 500 high school students may be forced to re-take their Advanced Placement exams. The district originally said there no reason to believe any cheating took place and that the retesting would happen because of an error in spacing students apart while they took the exams. But that’s not true: Cheating was discovered on at least one student’s exam. On Thursday, the Board of Trustees voted to file a lawsuit over the issue, after an outcry by “hundreds of angry students and parents,” reports the Union-Tribune.
Students caught up in the fiasco should be warned: Being forced to re-take AP exams is what you’ll be having stress nightmares about for the next 15 years, regardless of how this turns out.
Low-Income Out, Affordable In
In the neighborhood of Rancho Peñasquitos, advocates for affordable housing suffered a defeat this week when the RP Planning Board voted to approve a project that would displace many of the area’s 332 affordable housing units and replace them with condos and single-family homes that will cost between $400,000 and $600,000 to purchase. “The apartments will rent out starting at $1,500 a month to upper $2,000’s. There will be 27 low-income units in the new complex,” NBC 7 reports. Once approved by San Diego’s Planning Commission, the project will have to be approved by the City Council.
• San Diego leaders have identified nine locations that have been targeted for illegal dumping and excessive littering and will work for the next year to clean up the areas. (NBC 7)
• California’s Senate on Thursday passed a bill by San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins placing a $75 fee on real estate transactions and potentially raising $250 million intended for low-income housing development. The bill now moves on to the state Assembly. (L.A. Times)
• A comic book company that has exhibited at Comic-Con for the last 44 years has announced it will not return to San Diego this year. The convention “has seen rapidly escalating costs, and also a dramatic change in the demographics of its attendees. Neither of those changes worked to our advantage,” wrote the president of Mile High Comics. (AV Club)
• California researchers may have stumbled onto a previously unknown link between weight gain and smelling your food, NBC 7 reports. They wonder if rigging the human body to block the smelly links between brain and weight gain may be able to help people stay thin even when they are eating fatty foods.