Monday, December 8, 2008
The San Diego Unified School Board will swear in two new trustees during a special ceremony today. The pair promises to push the board in a direction that's more responsive to teachers. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
Richard Barrera and John Lee Evans are the two new guys on the block.
Barrera is community organizer who will replace outgoing trustee Luis Acle. Lee Evans is a child psychologist who will replace Mitz Lee.
The pair has already formed an alliance with one another. Lee Evans says he and Barrera are on the same page.
We found out that we just tend to think a lot alike about a lot of the issues. I think we're both commonsense-oriented and very pragmatic in terms of what is going on.
Evans says the underlying message is to take back control of school board policy. He says past boards have been pushovers for the superintendent.
So far Grier says he's ready and willing to work with the two men. But it remains to be seen whether the new trustees set the district in a new direction or spark tension with Grier and the three other school board members.
Its like someone coming in in the middle of the semester.
Katherine Nakamura is the president of the school board. She realizes all eyes will be on the board as the new men settle into their positions. But she says she can't be distracted by all attention because there's too much at stake. She says the district stands to lose an additional $40 million in state money if mid-year budget cuts go through.
This budget crisis is a heart attack for education in California. It might not kill us off but it could disable us severely.
The board expects to pore over the district's spending plans in anticipation of state budget cuts. That could translate into the elimination of elective classes, childcare programs and central office positions.
Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.