Category archives for: Education Matters

San Dieguito enrollment study group formed, facilitator chosen

marsha_sutton

Vocal community dissatisfaction with San Dieguito Union High School District policies on enrollment and attendance boundaries last spring has led the district to create a task force to explore the issue – and to select a facilitator for the group who charges $350 an hour.

The task force, officially called the High School Enrollment Study Group, grew out of objections earlier this year to the lottery system SDUHSD uses to allow admittance to the district’s two “open enrollment” high schools – San Dieguito Academy and Canyon Crest Academy.

San Diego’s Rock Week of Wonder

Marsha Sutton

It was a Week of Wonder in San Diego last week, with concerts by three of the biggest names from the 1960s and ’70s. In six days, our fair city saw Paul McCartney on Sunday, Crosby Stills & Nash on Wednesday, and the Eagles on Saturday. Saying it was a trip down memory lane is such a lame cliché, but how else to describe this glorious week?

I’m not much of an Eagles fan (please, no hate mail), and sadly, I was not on the ball when I belatedly heard Crosby Stills & Nash were coming to the Civic Center.

That’s not my favorite venue in any case, especially after seeing Graham Nash up close and personal at the Belly Up last year. But I did lament missing that beautiful three-part harmony — and the lovely memories their songs bring back.

Yet another study on the benefits of later school start times

Marsha Sutton

I can’t believe I’m writing about this again.

My fourth column, written in October of 2003, focused on the mountains of scientific research showing conclusively that early school start times for middle and high school students are harmful for teens.

Since then, I’ve written two more columns on the subject, in 2010 and 2013, and referenced the insanity of early start times in numerous other columns, all the while expressing exasperation at the deafening silence from education leaders.

Salaries, benefits, and how columns grow out of control

Marsha Sutton

Some of you have asked why my columns are so long. It’s a good question, because I never set out to write so much. It’s hubris to think my words are so important – I recognize that.

Every time I sit down to write, it’s always with the goal to keep my words under 1,000 – 800 is the target.

But here’s a perfect example of how it happens.

Focus on senior portraits

Marsha Sutton

As part of its contract with the San Dieguito Union High School District to shoot senior yearbook portraits, Keane Studios, located in Carmel Valley, receives personal contact information for each 12th-grade student and their parents.

Some parents say this is wrong, citing a violation of privacy rights.

“A few weeks ago I received a letter that [child’s] personal information was sent to Keane Studios so she could be photographed for the yearbook,” said one parent in May, whose child will be a senior this fall.

Pushing boundaries

Marsha Sutton

Few issues cause parents more distress than changes in school boundaries. Who can forget the tumult when in 2002 the Del Mar Union School District moved hundreds of families from one attendance area to another? Resentment still lingers, 12 years later.

The San Dieguito Union High School District created its system of boundaries nearly 18 years ago that has worked well over time – until now.

No blame game on illegal student fees

Marsha Sutton

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.

High school student parking fees under scrutiny

Marsha Sutton

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.

Illegal fees collected for cap-and-gown; refunds owed

Marsha Sutton

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.

News for high school athletes and graduating seniors

Marsha Sutton

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.

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