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Morning Report: San Diego Unified Paid a Problem Principal to Go Away

Junipero Serra High School in the Tierrasanta neighborhood of San Diego / Photo by Megan Wood

San Diego Unified School District took an unusual step after its investigators concluded that Vincent Mays, then principal of Junipero Serra High School, had committed quid pro quo sexual harassment against a teacher.

First he was reassigned to a central office job – a “principal on special assignment” gig, in district parlance – where he made roughly $143,000 a year. At the time, the district said publicly it was recognizing his talents and using them to make progress districtwide. Then the district paid him another $110,000 so that he’d go away.

But his resignation deal, which went into effect in February, also included the stipulation that the school district not tell any potential future employers he was a bad employee. That future employer – and any teachers, parents or students at that school – would have to figure it out on their own.

Reporter Will Huntsberry lays out the details using documents obtained through a public records request, of Mays’ tumultuous term at Serra High. In addition to the substantiated allegation of harassment, the district’s file on Mays also outlined stories of him making graphic sexual comments and gestures to co-workers, being dismissive to others in staff meetings, refusing to let a department head weigh in on hiring in her department and another instance of dating a teacher who had just received an evaluation from him that the district deemed “suspicious.”

When we asked a district spokeswoman last September whether Mays was still employed, she said he’d resigned. She didn’t mention that because of the resignation deal, he was still on the payroll at that time, and would be for several more months.

A ‘Lost Boy’ Finds a Home in City Heights

In this week’s Culture Report, VOSD contributor Julia Dixon Evans speaks with Alephonsion Deng and Judy Bernstein, who recently published a new book chronicling Deng’s experience as a refugee in City Heights.

Deng was one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” who fled the country in 1987.

The book alternates between Deng’s narrative and Bernstein’s, who ended up mentoring Deng and his cousin through the San Diego chapter of the International Rescue Committee. They will be part of the first ever San Diego Writers Festival on Saturday, April 13.

Dixon Evans also rounds up some of the culture and food happenings around San Diego, including the San Diego Arab Film Festival, a lecture on social responsibility in art in La Jolla and how the San Diego Museum of Beer is trying to open its first centralized location in town.

Measure L Rears Its Head in Convention Center Drama

It wouldn’t be April, or March, or any month, really, if there weren’t news about how the effort to expand the Convention Center is floundering or may be floundering. The San Diego City Council is tentatively planning to vote April 15 on whether to move the vote for the increase to the hotel-room tax to March 2020. The mayor wants that.

The measure is currently already qualified for the November 2020 ballot. But several other local leaders would like November’s ballot to be free for other tax measures, like the one transit leaders are hoping to put up and the one affordable housing advocates support.

Alliance San Diego, a progressive group, organized 25 partners to tell the City Council not to move the vote to March and to respect Measure L, the 2016 initiative that said the city should put all initiatives on November general election ballots, when the most people possible would vote on them.

On Friday, labor leader Keith Maddox, the executive secretary of the San Diego Labor Council, implored allies not to sign on to Alliance San Diego’s push. “This critical ballot measure will provide funding for the Homelessness / Housing crisis and creates over 7000 jobs,” he wrote in an email obtained by Voice of San Diego.

RIP, San Diego Fleet

San Diego Fleet, we hardly had the chance to come aboard.

Now, the ship has sailed.

(Sorry.)

The team was part of the new Alliance of American Football league, which is suspending operations only midway through its first season, ESPN reported.

10News reported that fans trying to purchase tickets to the Fleet’s April 14 home game encountered a message that said, “Oh-no! These tickets went fast and we’re unable to find more right now.”

“Calls to season ticket lines and links on the team’s website went unanswered and returned no results Tuesday,” 10News reported.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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