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Grand Jury Questions San Diego Unified Action Center

Aired 5/8/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego Unified's website section called the "Education Issue Action Center" may violate state education laws that prohibit political activity on the part of on-duty schools staff.

— San Diego Unified may have violated state laws by using part of its website for political advocacy. The county’s grand jury argues that a sample letter to legislators in support of more funding for schools crosses the line.

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Grand Jury Report

Grand Jury Report

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Last year, San Diego Unified added a section to its website called the "Education Issues Action Center." Ahead of the November elections, the action center included that sample letter to state legislators urging them to support funding for schools, as well as links to the "Yes on 38" and "Yes on 30" campaign websites.

A grand jury report released this week said those postings are the kind of political activity prohibited by the state’s education laws.

But the district’s website wasn’t the grand jury's only concern, according to Jury Foreman Paul Christian.

“A lot of the individual schools have their own websites as well and we thought there was somewhat of a lax supervision of those websites," he said. "We found that over 4,300 people had access to put information on the various websites through all the San Diego city schools.”

Tightening access to school site was one of the report's five recommendations. The grand jury also recommended that the district put more robust policies in place to prevent political activity on the part of district staff and closer monitoring of the Education Issues Action Center page for compliance with state law.

A school district representative said the district’s attorney is reviewing the report and will prepare the response required within 90 days under state law.

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