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Bid by deep pocketed interests fails in San Diego to remake school board…

July 13, 2011

It looks like the group backed by Irwin Jacobs and and Rod Dammeyer (San Diegans 4 Great Schools) could not get the signatures needed to get the vote to add new members to the SDUSD school board onto the ballot.

I was at a local Rite-Aid during the time when this signature push was going on.  The signature gatherer outside the store asked me: “Do you want to help save local schools?”  I had the immediate reaction of: “yes, of course.”  So, I asked him what this was and he told me that it would add members to the board and that: “ALL TEACHERS ARE SUPPORTING IT.”

That sounded fishy to me so I told him I was a teacher and I had not heard about teachers supporting this.  I didn’t sign the petition and did some research on my own about it.  Turns out, SDEA and teachers in San Diego were opposed to this measure because people (who knows who) could be hand-picked to be on the board by a “committee.”  This doesn’t sit well with teachers because we are in a time where our profession is coming under attack by wealthy interests from all angles under the banner of “reform.”  This attempt looks like another “reform” measure which has meant union stripping, teacher rights stripping, and more testing in other states.

My guess is that this group will be back…with a name like “San Diegans for Great Schools” I can’t imagine they will disappear.  Notice how nomenclature is so pervasively deceiving in today’s environment.  I mean, who didn’t vote for a bill named: “No Child Left Behind.”  Pretty soon our politicians will be crafting bills with names like: “The I Love My Mother” bill, or the “Never Harm Puppies” bill.  They are very slick and crafty.

In any event, the signature campaign failed, here is the article from Voice of San Diego writing about it.

A bid to remake the San Diego Unified school board to include four new, appointed members fell short of the number of signatures needed to get onto the ballot, the Union-Tribune reports.

The measure needed 93,085 signatures and county officials found that 90,027 were valid, said Denise Jenkins, an elections analyst in the City Clerk’s Office.

“It pretty much just ends because it was insufficient,” Jenkins said.

The plan was led by San Diegans 4 Great Schools, a group of philanthropists, business leaders, parents and others who argued that expanding the school board and changing the way it was chosen would depoliticize the school board. Under the plan, four new school board members would be tapped by a new committee of university chiefs, parent leaders and a business representative.

It would also have imposed term limits on school board members and changed the election system so that board members only ran within smaller subdistricts instead of the school district at large.

The campaign was bankrolled largely by two donors, Qualcomm cofounder Irwin Jacobs and businessman Rod Dammeyer. It argued that the elected board of five was unstable, prone to dramatic swings in direction with each election and that the school district was failing its students. The plan was loathed by existing school board members and the teachers union, who called it elitist and undemocratic.

The signature campaign was led, at least earlier this year, by the La Jolla Group, which is fresh off of a similar blunder. The group was in charge of getting Councilman Carl DeMaio’s contracting measure on last year’s ballot and failed to get sufficient signatures.

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