It would be easy to assume, after the last few columns, that the staff at the San Dieguito Union High School District deserves condemnation.
Recent stories highlighting what may be unlawful student fees have been critical. The schools’ nonprofit foundations have not always followed the rules, the district dropped the ball by improperly charging for graduation attire, and district policy to charge students for parking privileges is being challenged.
What were once requests for money have over the years escalated into a sense of entitlement. Topping everything was the property tax bill overcharge debacle last fall.
At $40 annually per vehicle, the San Dieguito Union High School District collected over $77,000 in fees this year from students for campus parking permits.
With an overall budget this year of about $107 million, $77,000 may seem insignificant. But there’s a principle at stake here, says Sally Smith, a San Diego attorney and relentless crusader for equal access in public education.
Parents who paid for caps and gowns for their graduating high school seniors this year are owed a full refund, the San Dieguito Union High School District has determined.
Because the district did not make it clear that caps and gowns could be provided at no charge, SDUHSD is now forced to offer refunds to anyone who purchased the attire and does not wish to keep it.
In her fight to ensure fair and equal access for all public school students in California, Sally Smith is a champion for those without a voice and Public Enemy #1 to those who view her as a destructive force in public education.
Smith is a doggedly determined attorney who began her pursuit to eliminate improper fees in public schools in the San Diego Unified School District where her children attended school.
A lawyer once told me he would rather defend rapists and murderers than dive into the ugly world of education politics. Although joking (sort of), I take his point.
Having written about education for the last 18 years and suffered more than my share of abuse for the positions I have espoused, I vowed never again to enter into a debate about the merits of one candidate over another for school board seats.
Following last week’s column on the property tax bill error caused jointly by the San Dieguito Union High School District and the county of San Diego, left unsaid was how it happened and what’s in place moving forward to ensure it never happens again.
After hearing from staff how the district was not blameless in the property tax bill error discovered last October, the San Dieguito Union High School District’s Board of Trustees voted 4-1 at the May 1 board meeting to pay $80,000 to the county of San Diego for partial reimbursement of expenses associated with correcting the mistake.
As a final follow-up to the recent series on professional development in the Del Mar Union School District, DMUSD superintendent Holly McClurg explained why some teachers are out of their classrooms for training more than others.
All DMUSD teachers spend two to five days a year, for three years, in Cognitively Guided Instruction staff development, she said, to prepare for Common Core State Standards which are being introduced this fall.
Part Three of a three-part series:
After all the hubbub about what some say is an excessive amount of teacher training in the Del Mar Union School District, I asked to sit in on a professional development session.
DMUSD superintendent Holly McClurg enthusiastically agreed and set me up with a session for the district’s kindergarten, first- and second-grade teachers on Feb. 10.
Part 2: Last week’s column discussed the Del Mar Union School District’s balancing act as it tries to provide professional development for its teachers without negatively impacting students and impeding learning in the classroom.
Tiffany Kinney and Gina Vargus, co-presidents of the Del Mar California Teachers Association, discussed the discomfort some teachers have with the training.