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Moving on from My Dream Job

Voice of San Diego has an opening for an investigative reporter, as Will Carless and his family prep for a move to Uruguay.

 

Voice of San Diego has just announced an open position for an investigative reporter.

In July, my family and I will be packing our bags and heading off on a new adventure. My wonderful wife, Christin, has accepted a job with the Uruguayan American School in Montevideo, Uruguay. I have decided to follow a new path in my career: From a base in Montevideo, I plan to work as a foreign correspondent, reporting on current events across South America.

The decision to leave the remarkable team at VOSD was incredibly difficult. I’ve been lucky enough to have one of the best jobs in journalism, at an organization that is never afraid to reinvent itself, or to relentlessly pursue the goal of producing the best journalism.

As this organization’s lead investigative reporter, I’ve been afforded the time and freedom to pursue some fascinating stories.

For me, the highlight of the last couple of years was our coverage of the capital appreciation bond scandal at the Poway Unified School District. We helped draw nationwide attention to these bonds and others like them, which push the cost of building today’s schools onto future generations. Our stories led to pending legislation that would impact billions of dollars in school bond financing.

I describe the process of reporting this story to my friends as democracy working. The media did its job, legislators responded and did theirs and hopefully this form of financing will be stopped.

We followed the Poway stories with another big bond investigation, which looked into the relationship between school districts and the companies that stand to win the most from bond campaigns.

In an exhaustive study of every local bond campaign since 2006, NBC San Diego’s Wendy Fry and I uncovered a striking pattern: More than 70 percent of companies that donated at least $5,000 to bond campaigns ended up winning work from the district once the bond passed.

Two months later, the federal agency that oversees municipal bond financing ramped up its oversight of the companies that buy and sell bonds.

And I’ve been proud of some of the local education stories we’ve covered. We’ve offered insight into the often confusing operations at San Diego Unified by investigating issues like the district’s special education policies, the changing role and leadership of the teachers union and city schools’ reluctance to use data to evaluate teacher performance.

It’s been a challenging and fascinating period in my life and in VOSD’s evolution. Along the way, I’ve upset some people, hopefully entertained and informed far more and met some of San Diego’s more colorful residents.

Now it’s almost time for a new start. My wife will give birth, any day now, to our second son or daughter (we don’t yet), and together we will fly south to a new home.

Meanwhile, I have a couple of very exciting projects that I plan to hammer out between now and July.

I’m sure those of you who enjoy following my work will continue to support Voice of San Diego, and I thank you for all the emails, calls and tweets of support.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5670.

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