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City Council, Schools Shaping New Relationship

Aired 4/18/12 on KPBS News.

San Diego's City Council and Board of Education are looking at how to build more partnerships between the city and school district.

— San Diego’s mayoral candidates have debated the role city leaders should play in improving city schools. Now San Diego Unified officials and City Council members are looking at building a more formal relationship.

The council’s Rules Committee got a brief introduction Wednesday to a topic that doesn’t normally appear on its agendas – the city’s schools. Board of Education President John Lee Evans highlighted the district’s efforts to draw families back to their neighborhood schools, touted student testing and attendance gains, and tallied years of state -funding cuts.

Council President Tony Young pledged in November to make supporting schools a priority for the council. Evans says there are several ways the two governing bodies can partner.

“Getting your support for adequate state funding for schools, everybody really needs to speak up about this," he said. "And the other is areas where we have collaborated before and where we can increase that collaboration.”

Those other collaborations include joint-use athletic fields and facilities like libraries. Evans pointed to policing and environmental services as other areas where the city and schools could pool resources to accomplish more.

Young pointed to the paradox of San Diego's high unemployment rate and more than 50,000 open positions in technology-related fields in the region. Creating the educated workforce that can fill those jobs is the whole community's responsibility, he said.

Many audience members commented on information-technology contracts the committee was reviewing. Young invited those business representatives to reach out to Evans to partner with the district.

The City Council and the Board of Education are planning to hold a joint session in September.

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