Morning Report: The La Jolla Schools Exodus - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: The La Jolla Schools Exodus

Day Prep
Ali Murphy drops her two daughters off at Day Prep, a private school in La Jolla. / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

Parents who believe education officials are bringing children back into classrooms too slowly are opting out of traditional public schools. 

Enrollment at La Jolla Elementary is down 20 percent and Will Huntsberry spoke to other families who say they’re considering an alternative unless San Diego Unified resumes in-person learning soon

The district, in fact, does have a plan to bring back thousands of students with special needs by the end of the month, but it’s too little, too late, for some families. 

Not everyone, of course, has the luxury of going elsewhere. 

San Diego Unified declined to release specific enrollment numbers, but said 2,474 fewer students, or 2.4 percent, have signed up than were originally expected, NBC 7 reported. 

There’s some indication that the richest and poorest schools are losing the most students. The vice president of the school board told Huntsberry that wealthy families have the means to decide whether to stay, while others may have been more likely to move during the pandemic. 

The biggest hit by far appears to be in kindergarten, which is not required in California. Parents who decline to attend virtual kindergarten this year may still attend public schools in first grade. 

Meanwhile … we previously reported on the Cajon Valley school district’s summer program, in which students attended in person.

Now, the New York Times checked in on the district, which is currently offering a mix of in-person an remote instruction. 

At a moment where many communities feel abandoned by their schools,” the Times wrote, “Cajon Valley’s ability to partially reopen its buildings with the support of both families and teachers is a testament to the importance of an easily overlooked commodity during the pandemic: trust.”

Ash Street Investors Wanna Get Paid

As you’ve probably heard by now, San Diego in 2016 agreed to purchase a downtown highrise from a pair of real estate developers, Sandy Shapery and Doug Manchester, using another firm, Cisterra Development, as middleman and landlord. The building now sits vacant after the county declared it a public nuisance in January because of asbestos concerns. 

We wrote a brief history of the deal in August. 

There’s another party in the deal that’s gotten significantly less attention — the Maryland-based CGA Capital, which acts on behalf of a trustee for investors Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, and Assurity Life Insurance Company. They put up the money, so they technically own 101 Ash St. 

And unsurprisingly, they’re not pleased with the mayor’s decision to stop paying rent in the midst of the real estate mess. 

Lisa Halverstadt explains who the investors are and reports that they filed a notice of claim Friday, which is a precursor to a lawsuit

The Mayor’s Race Is Now All About … the Sex Offender Registry

A new law that gives judges more discretion over whether to include young adults who have sex with teens on the state’s sex offender registry is now a source of contention in the San Diego mayor’s race. 

Assemblyman Todd Gloria defended his vote in favor of the new law last week, prompting City Councilwoman Barbara Bry to suggest on KUSI that the bill itself condoned pedophilia. She then challenged him to a debate. He declined. 

In the Sacramento Report, Kayla Jimenez breaks down what the bill actually does and what motivated it. In statutory rape cases, California has been very specific about the types of penetration that will automatically put someone on the sex offender registry. The law as it had been written discriminated against gay men. 

Sex with a 14-year-old was illegal before SB 145 and it’s still illegal now. The bill signed recently by Gov. Gavin Newsom even had the backing of major law enforcement groups. 

Speaking of state laws: Mayor Kevin Faulconer also made his support for Prop. 20 official, joining the San Diego County supervisors. He and others argue that previous criminal justice reforms approved by California voters had done more harm than good. They want to collect more DNA from people convicted of  drug, theft and domestic violence crimes. 

Earlier this year, Faulconer blamed an increase in homelessness on the state’s softening of drug crimes. He’s also launched a 2022 ballot measure committee aimed at reducing homelessness and growing encampments after he steps down from a position of power. 

Mo’ Politics

The big showdown over a controversial SANDAG audit happened Friday, and Andrew Keatts broke down the disputes and what’s happening next in this week’s Politics Report.

San Diego County’s attempt last week to remove the number of positive COVID-cases at San Diego State University from the official tally prompted a super serious question on the podcast: Are students people? Some say yes, some say no. We’re just here to state facts so you can decide! 

The U-T took a closer look at San Diego’s effort to revive a sales tax measure and the District 2 Board of Supervisors seat in East County. The outcome of that race won’t shape the political balance of the board, but “it still carries major implications for San Diego County and local Republicans.” 

Bry and Gloria made their pitches to biotech executives last week. Bry said her tech background means she understands what the industry needs. Gloria emphasized that he’d build more housing, which would help draw in life science employees from elsewhere.  (Union-Tribune) 

In Other News

  • There’s a second pandemic in Baja California: hunger. Tijuana’s food banks were temporarily shut down. (Union-Tribune) 
  • To avoid the high number of COVID cases seen on SDSU’s campus, UCSD will task “student ambassadors” to enforce public health rules. The U-T has an interesting take on what’s really the problem in student dorms: “As much as anything, defeating COVID-19 on campus involves getting rambunctious, hormone-charged teenagers to keep their distance and cover their faces.” 
  • Meanwhile, San Diego County is expanding its testing efforts at SDSU, which has seen more than 600 coronavirus cases in its student population since it partially reopened last month. (NBC 7) 
  • Chula Vista could issue debt to pay down its rising pension costs. (Union-Tribune) 

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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