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Schools bracing for enrollment drop

 March 28, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Matt Hoffman it’s Monday March 28th>>>>

California public schools forecast enrollment dropMore on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

At the downtown federal courthouse this morning the Prosecution is resuming its testimony in the trial of navy officers accused of bribery relating to the “Fat-Leonard” Scandal.. Five officers are charged with accepting lavish gifts in exchange for steering ships to select ports.. In 2013 Leonard Glenn Francis was arrested in San Diego and later pleaded guilty to overcharging the navy millions of dollars to berth ships around the western pacific.

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Thousands of southern California grocery workers could go on strike soon. It was announced over the weekend that Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons employees voted to authorize the strike. The two sides have been bargaining for months and have failed to reach a deal. The vote doesn’t mean a strike will automatically happen, but the move would allow one if no progress is made in negotiations.. The union is seeking a five dollar per hour wage increase.. They argue the current offer from the stores would leave employees with less take-home-pay due to inflation. Both sides are set to be back at the bargaining table on Wednesday

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Scattered showers are expected across the county this morning as a cold front moves from the coast and to the mountains.. Heavier showers are expected around midday.. There may be a slight break, but forecasters say widespread showers are expected in the late afternoon and into the evening. Thunderstorms may also be possible.

From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

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K-12 public schools across California are already struggling to come back from COVID… and they could be losing hundreds of thousands of students by the end of the decade.

KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez explains why.

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ENROLLDROP TRT :53 soq

The State is projecting California K-through-12 public school student enrollment will drop 9-percent by 2030.

That means losing more than 5-hundred-thousand students in the public school system. COVID accelerated the projection along with a debate on the best funding formula for public schools.

State legislators are currently considering funding based on overall enrollment numbers before they get worse instead of the historic daily attendance method.

San Ysidro Schools Superintendent Gina Potter says the attendance requirement is punitive for struggling low-income families …especially those who are unhoused.

SOT :12 “that’s not the system in CA that provides a system of support for those families that are so vulnerable who really need support and they don’t need penalties.”

MGP…KPBS News

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State lawmakers are taking action to extend eviction protections for Californians who are participating in rental assistance programs.

KPBS Speak City Heights reporter Jacob Aere says right now… those protections are set to expire this month.

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RENTEXTENSION 1 (:41)

Help may be on the way for tenants using COVID-19 rent relief across the Golden State. But not everyone is happy.

Southern California Rental Housing Association President Lucinda Lilley says Assembly Bill 2179 would hurt small mom and pop landlords who have been struggling throughout the pandemic.

5:10 - 5:26

“Of course we’d like it to expire because we’d like to be able to move on past this. We feel that the emergency is over and it's time to get on with being able to provide quality housing for all and expecting the renters to pay for their rent as well.”

The bill would extend eviction protections until June 30th. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.

ANCHOR TAG: Under the proposed bill, protections would be extended for those who apply for relief by this Thursday.

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Owners of sportfishing boats have been worried for months about proposed air quality rules.. Some even feared the proposed changes could put them out of business. But KPBS reporter Tania Thorne tells us a compromise has been reached.

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SPORTFISHING 1 (0:48) SOQ

Sport fishing boat owners are breathing a sigh of relief after the California Air Resources Board reconsidered regulations on commercial fishing boats.

Ken Franke, the president of the Sports Fishing Association, says the new regulations are in line with upgrades boats have already been doing.

“since 1998 half the fleet have already upgraded to tier three the best engines that are available, the cleanest ones in the world. That we have available to us right now, and the rest of them are in plans going to that, .

Franke says there are 193 commercial fishing boats statewide and they’re happy CARB came to a compromise with the boat owners.

CARB’s new regulations require vessel owners to upgrade to the next less polluting engines available on the market by 2024.

TT KPBS News

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Coming up.... Tijuana is becoming more than just a manufacturing hub, how technology is leading the way – after the break.

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There were nearly one million unfilled IT jobs in the U.S. last year. That’s a problem for tech companies, but an opportunity for IT professionals in Mexico. KPBS border reporter Gustavo Solis explains how Tijuana is becoming more than just a manufacturing hub.

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TJ TECH (3:50) SOQ

Maritza Diaz is the founder and CEO of iTijuana – a company that connects American businesses with Mexican tech workers.

Her clients are mostly companies based in San Diego. And all of them seem to be having the same problem.

MATT 2866_01 16:40:04:07

“But I can tell you, every time I ask my potential customers what is your biggest problem? It is no longer the cost. The biggest problem is being able to hire. They don’t care where or how they want to hire because of all of this acceleration. Particularly here in California where we compete with the big tech of Google, Facebook and AWS, it’s almost impossible for mid to small companies to hire. Because every software engineer wants to go there in the big tech..”

Diaz says everyone is struggling to hire software developers right now. Particularly small-to-medium sized companies who keep losing talent to tech giants like Google and Amazon.

She views that as an opportunity for Tijuana.

Traditionally, the tech sector has relied on countries like India and China to fill the labor gap. But companies no longer need to go that far.

MATT 2866_01 16:34:50:03

“For us, being in San Diego, in this beautiful area when Tijuana is only 20 or 30 minutes down the road, it does not make any sense to go to India or go to China or Philippines or anywhere but here.”

Tijuana offers several advantages. Developers there are highly trained, their salaries are half of what companies would pay in the United States and they avoid logistical hurdles that come with hiring people a half a world away.

iTijuana started in 2019 and has already produced roughly 700 engineering jobs.

Two of those went to Rachelle Reyes and Andre Patiño.

MATT 2916_01 16:39:55:09

“I think there’s a lot of opportunities here in Tijuana.”

That was Reyes, who started as a trainee and now develops mobile apps for a biomedical company.

Patiño collaborates with developers based in San Diego on a daily basis.

MATT 2917_01 16:51:48:09

“When you actually start working with people from the USA or from India or from different places, you start to learn from them and they start to learn from you. So it’s a really fun thing to collaborate with different cultures and different environments.”

Both are aware that they’re getting paid a lot less than developers who live in California. But they also say Tijuana’s cost of living is much lower. For them, it evens out.

Plus, Patiño says their education is more affordable.

MATT 2917_01 16:56:41:05

“I’ve heard the stories people taking years and years to pay their student loans. Mexico is way more accessible. We don’t pay nearly as much as the U.S. does in university. But I do think they do a great job at teaching us.”

Diaz doesn’t see the U.S. labor shortage getting any better in the short term. She thinks Tijuana has the potential to become Mexico’s next big tech hub for a couple reasons.

First, the sheer number of openings means that visas for skilled labor are no longer the viable option they once were. The H1-B visa program is capped at 65,000, which is not nearly enough to fill the gap.

Plus, companies can save by hiring in Mexico.

MATT 2866_02 16:49:46:15

“Now, when you bring a worker here to the U.S., you are paying U.S. salaries right? I don’t see any reason why companies need to apply for visas like that when they can actually drive 30 minutes and have hundreds of engineers in Tijuana.”

For young Tijuanenses, this means an opportunity to have a career in tech without leaving their hometown.

MATT 2917_01 16:53:43:06

“I think it can go way big. I think there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement but the potential is there. So I think with the right focus and the right work we can get it to grow into the next big tech hub.”

Gustavo Solis, KPBS News

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Research at Salk Institute and UC San Diego could make it possible to treat diseases in the brain, using ultrasound… It relies on treating the brain like a concert hall. KPBS Science and Technology reporter Thomas Fudge explains-

BRAINSOUND 1:10 …SOQ.

Ultrasound has shown the potential to cure diseases like Parkinson’s and Epilepsy by delivering electric current to affected cells. But focusing ultrasound on one part of the brain can cause injury. So scientists at UCSD have created what they call a diffuser that makes the ultrasound resonate throughout the brain. Researcher Aditya Vasan says, building on research from the Salk Institute, they attach proteins to targeted brain cells to make them receptors of the treatment.

“We engineer cells to express these proteins and we also develop ultrasound transducers that are capable of delivering a uniform soundfield into an enclosed cavity like the skull.”

That uniform soundfield is just what they want in another enclosed cavity, a concert hall. Engineering professor James Friend, also at UCSD, says the mathematical foundation of their use of ultrasound comes from studies of concert hall acoustics.

“My contribution here was to produce a diffuser on the sound source itself. So you have no echoes of that sound within the concert hall of the skull.”

The treatment would be non-invasive. SOQ.

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The latest Disney - Pixar movie “Turning Red” is winning praise for its diversity and representation … including a depiction of a common but little-talked-about medical condition.

As KPBS North County reporter Alexander Nguyen tells us … there may be a San Diego connection.

DEXCOM 1(an) TRT 1:14 SOQ

Disney/Pixar's Turning Red is a coming-of-age story about Meilin Lee … a 13-year-old Chinese Canadian girl going through puberty.

The hitch is if she gets too excited … she turns into a giant red panda.

But this scene is the one that caught the attention of parents and kids with diabetes …

SOT (audio from that scene in the trailer)

One character has a blue patch on her arm that looks like a continuous glucose meter.

Internet users speculate the patch was one made by San Diego-based Dexcom.

"That people recognize Dexcom right away, that's just the impact of the benefits that Dexcom is giving patients living with diabetes every day."

That’s Dexcom's marketing manager Katie Campbell. She also has a son living with type 1 diabetes.

Experts say when children see themselves depicted in popular media … it helps them establish a sense of self and shows they are not alone.

Because the movie is set in 2002 … Pixar says the patch shown is an insulin infusion set … not a glucose meter.

That device was not available then.

AN/KPBS

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That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Matt Hoffman. Thanks for listening, have a great start to your week and we’ll be back with you tomorrow.

The state is projecting California K-12 public school student enrollment will drop 9% by 2030. State lawmakers are taking action to extend eviction protections for Californians who are participating in rental assistance programs. Tijuana has the potential to become Mexico’s next big technology hub.