Hope for Schools in 2021

January 11, 2021

The start of a new year always brings us hope. This year is no exception! A new president will be inaugurated in January, COVID vaccines are beginning to be distributed in phases and conversations around systemic changes in racial disparity are happening. 

With all of these positive changes, one would hope that the San Diego Unified School Board would be pleased with the $390 million from the stimulus package Congress passed at the end of 2020. But NO! In recent communication from Board President Barrera stated, “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done at the federal and state level to get schools the resources that we will need over the course of the next couple of years.” This statement is no different than any other that the board spews out each year. It is NEVER enough for this school board! Year after year they fail to balance a budget with whatever money they receive. Perhaps the problem is not the amount of money given to our schools, but the people who decide where the money goes.

During Superintendent Martens’ reign, there has been no decrease in teachers, teacher pay and/or benefit packages. There has been an increase in high-paying positions at the Education center where these educators never touch the lives of students. Money has been allotted every year to supposedly go to our most struggling students. There has been no accountability on where all the money is being spent. This school board MUST be held accountable for the new money coming from the government. Their past record proves that they do not know how to spend money on students first and not teacher raises, benefit packages, outside consultants, or legal fees to very expensive firms.

Teachers are currently teaching half of their caseload but are receiving a full salary. There would be substantial savings here by giving them a full caseload. There is no other job that has quite a deal like this! By creating a monopoly with six other superintendents in California, the state was bullied into giving them this enormous amount of money and yet schools are still not open. No other business would ever get away with this threatening behavior.

It is a new year. In the words of our newly elected President Biden; “Build Back Better”! We can do this. We can BUILD public education BACK to excellence and give our students a BETTER way of life.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch