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Charter Schools Are Big Issue In San Diego County Board Of Education Race

Charter Schools Are Big Issue In San Diego County Board Of Education Race
Charter Schools Big Issue In San Diego County Board Of Education Race GUEST:Maureen Magee, reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Last school year it was all eyes on Marnie Foster, the former San Diego unified school them are resigned after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for receiving gifts. Now two candidates are competing to replace or. Meghan Burk has spoken with both candidates about how they will put the focus back on students. Nearly 60% of voters chose LaShae Collins, school board elections aren't finished of someone comes out on top. In November, all voters will decide who will represent District he schools in Southeast San Diego. Sharon Whitehurst Payne is running against Collins. She says June's outcome was by design. It would be a waste of resources to focus on trying to win something when I was going to be on the ballot anyway. That was a no-brainer. My strategy was to get through the year, offering services and meeting the children's needs and then to go into campaigning. Now she is running on the work that she did as a trustee. She walks the school hallways to see where she is needed. She has found a school in disrepair. This became my project school. I think almost every board meeting, I was reporting on Crawford and the other board members became aware. The staff decided to make it a priority. The campus got some fresh paint and library upgrades. Construction workers are putting finishing touches on a new Stadium. The work was approved before administrators appointed Whitehurst-Payne . She says the projects got done sooner, because she knows how to work with individuals at every level. I know the system. I was there. I know about it. I know the games that are being played. I spent time in the classroom. I was a teacher at Roosevelt, at Mission Bay. She also spent 17 years working in HR at the district and an administrate at Cal State San Marcos. Her perspective is not entrenched in operations. Parents are great, community members are great there is time for change. Collins says she should increase transparency and access to decision-makers. When you care about education and your community, you will do everything to make sure the vital information is coming back so they know there is transparency. Colin works for state assemblywoman Shirley Weber and is an adjunct professor at San Diego state. She says her other mark would be expanding a curriculum that guarantees SDSU admission to Hoover High School it's. I'm passionate about Compact for Success. This population should have that opportunity at their fingertips. We need to get the budget straight. Both candidates say they are focused on ensuring the students have equal access to educational opportunities. Collins pointed to the number of college level course of rings available to high school students in the area. Whitehurst Payne push through a proposal that expanded the districtwide courses. They were scaled back because of low enrollment. Collins says music is another place where quality is lacking. We have a large number of schools that are thriving. When you look at district E it is minimal and the quality is low. Whitehurst-Payne says she is talk to the staff . They assured me that is at the top of the list. Neither candidate is opposing -- proposing a change of seats. The difference between the two his management style and background. With the ballot that counts, both Collins and Whitehurst Payne are eager to point out distinctions. Pagan Berks KPBS news. The San Diego unified race is not the only school board race. People living in the San Diego County school board's fifth district from Santa Gaydos to Fallbrook will choose a school board trustee who help select a new superintendent and make decisions about future charter schools. Joining me is Maureen Magee. What is the difference between the County school board and local school boards, do they do different things? They do, it's often misunderstood. The County office of education overseas lots of services for the 42 school districts in San Diego County. They offer training on everything from special education to restorative justice. Discipline to technology, they oversee the budgets and offer support. They have run a few schools and services for foster youth and court students. They offer more support to the smaller school districts, a large one like San Diego unified can take care of itself. That's right. The board steers $600 million budget. The incumbent in the fifth district is Rich Shea, he's facing Mark Wyland used to be a State Senator on the Senate education committee. What are there different plans for the future of the County school board? Rich Shea is part of the group on the board that has been working on bylaw changes and working to find a new superintendent, we have all heard about the resignation of Randy Ward and Mark Wyland is bringing fresh eyes to the board. He has a lot of support from the charter school Association, which has become involved in County boards of education races across California. Those panels are seen as key in the expansion of charter schools. County superintendent of education, Randy Ward, his resid nation's effective November 15. There's a lawsuit pending against him alleging he took an illegal boost in pay. Isn't the school board changing some rules and regulations right now in response to that? The County office of education board is only one employee, the superintendent. That's a limited role. They have changed bylaws and Randy Ward had announced he was going to retire at the end of the year. Leaving was not a surprise, the cloud and accusations was not expected. Can you explain why charter school groups are trying to influence this race? It's all over California. They put in millions of dollars, the County Board of Education votes on appeals, if a charter school is denied, if it's closed they can appeal that from their school district and take it to the board. The board has traditionally sided with school districts and the California charter schools Association would like to open that up. They see the County Board of Education as a way to have their voice heard and expand charter schools. What are some issues surrounding charter schools right now? Facilities has been a big issue. There are some who believe that school districts are threatened by charter school growth and are fostering an unfriendly culture. San Diego County has had its fair share of controversies for charter schools. There has been growth with small East County school district, which have been very frank about expanding charter schools for the revenue. There has been charter school authorizer's, whose schools operate very far away, outside the districts and created [ Indiscernible ]. There's a lot going on and a lot at stake. The charter school Association wants to grow charter schools dramatically, we are on the brink of charter schools 25th birthday -- anniversary of the charter schools act. Two people, just looking at this from the outside it might seem that there is trouble in San Diego school boards, school districts, is this spate of high-profile news unusual? Not really. School districts are composed of elected officials, administrators and have always had their share of controversies. Sometimes, things come up in series. It is nothing new. They go hand-in-hand. I've been speaking with Maureen Magee education reporting at the San Diego Union Tribune. In the year 2000, California passed a proposition that allowed a district attorney to decide whether to send the kids case to adult court. The practice is called direct file. Legislation that allowed it came from a fear there would be a surgeon youth kind. All of that crime did not happen. As California's reviewed the tough on measures direct file is up for vote. It's part of proposition 57. Laura Cliven's has more. It's not that juveniles can't get long sentences, listen to Frankie Guzmán's story. When he was 15 years old he and his friends were hanging out in their hometown of Oxnard. Like many teenagers, they did not always make the best decisions. They bought some guns, stole a car and robbed a liquor store. A to $350. Guzmán's lawyer told him the sentence would likely be light, maybe a year. That did not happen. When the 15 year sentence was handed down, I heard my sister screech and cry. I think that was when it hit me. He had no prior offenses. I did not think a lot about it. I just felt defeated and I felt worthless. The judge in his case let him stay in the juvenile system, there he went to school and that later played a big role in his life. He got out early. When it comes to criminal justice, there are two systems based on age. The juvenile system has a goal of rehabilitation. The adult system is the goal of public safety. Direct file gives prosecutors the ability to send kids to adult court. There is no hearing with direct file, there is no evidence or record. Barry Chris Burke is a criminologist at UC Berkeley. Someone in the back office decides to try a youth as an adult and there's not too much that can be done. If the case has a hearing in front of a judge, both sides present evidence in the hearing can be reviewed. Last year, nearly 500 young people between the ages of 14 and 17 were direct filed, that's less than 1% of all arrests statewide juvenile. An adult sentence is typically much longer than a juvenile one. Chris Burke says young people are more likely to recidivate and experience more abuse on the inside. Public defenders are looking out for their clients. Many of whom have grown up in challenging situations district attorneys are looking out for public safety and crime victims. District attorneys like Paul during Berger say direct file is a helpful tool. The Sacramento prosecutors say the available rehabilitation programs aren't good enough to change youth offenders. When you have a minor who will end up in adult court and you'll have a hearing that will sit at juvenile Hall. I don't see a benefit. Youth advocates take issue. They say the 48 hours district attorney's have to make their decision is not enough time. Then there is race, even after you adjust for the disproportionate number of youth of color arrested for serious felonies, Latino and black youth are twice as likely to be direct filed as their white counterparts. Patricia song is an attorney. She says since 2000 -- The numbers of young people prosecuted as adults increased dramatically and over time we saw the racial inequities widen. If it was your child, what would you want. They're much more likely to be sympathetic and to give second chances and to try treatment. We think we understand them, if they are defined as aliens or others, we treat them differently. Remember Frankie Guzmán, the guy who robbed a liquor store? He felt like his judge saw him as other. He is grateful direct file did not exist then. Having these opportunities to go to school, law alleged -- college and having a career is largely due to the product -- fact that I was prosecuted as a juvenile. He is a lawyer and he got here because he learned from his mistakes. You don't get a second chance with direct file. That was KQED reporter Laura Cliven's.

Voters don't usually pay much attention to county board of education races.

But this year, the San Diego County Board of Education's 5th District race is being watched a little closer than usual. The board of education represents the San Diego County Office of Education, which provides supportive services for the 42 school districts in the county.

The race is getting more attention because of charter school issues.


The race is between incumbent Rick Shea and Mark Wyland, a former state senator. Wyland is being supported by charter school groups.

Maureen Magee, who reports on education for The San Diego Union-Tribune, joins Midday Edition Tuesday to talk about the race.

Corrected: May 26, 2024 at 11:34 PM PDT
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said the new board will select a replacement for the county superintendent. It's unknown if the current board or new board will make the decision.