Give District Extra Money, See District Fight

Teachers and parents are upset with way the SD Unified School District Superintendent asked for input

By Rory Devine
|  Monday, May 18, 2009  |  Updated 4:15 PM PDT
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Give District Extra Money, See District Fight

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Some parents feel left out of the process by Grier's assigning of task forces from each school cluster.

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Tensions are building between the superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District and some parents and teachers over how to spend stimulus money.

The money, $13 - 17 million each year for two years, is designed to stimulate academic performance in the lowest five percent of schools.

Superintendent Terry Grier asked a principal and teacher from each school in four clusters to come up with a plan to spend the money. 

A cluster includes the elementary and middle schools leading to Lincoln High, San Diego High, Hoover High, and Crawford High -- as well as the high schools themselves.

Some of the proposed plans to improve student performance include a longer school year or extra pay to reduce teacher turnover. Issues that the teachers union says need to be negotiated, and the superintendent cannot do an end run around the union. Besides that, the union says teachers as a whole were left out of the process.

Some parents complained that since the plans had to be submitted in just two weeks it was not enough time to make them meaningful.

One parent heading up a committee designed by the district to advise it on how federal money should be spent on disadvantaged students says the committee should have been consulted. The superintendent has said that the committee will be consulted.

The superintendent says time is of the essence if the ideas in plans are to be implemented and he says schools were told if they needed more time, take it.

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