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School board to continue summer school despite financial crisis

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education unanimously agreed Tuesdsay to continue operating summer school despite a perilous financial situation.

The school board rejected a companion proposal to stop requiring summer school for students in danger of being retained at a grade level.

District officials allocated $4.6 million for summer school for nearly 1,700 students who might be kept behind in first, third and eighth grades; about 10,600 who need to make up a D or F grade in a core subject; and others who will start taking algebra.

Summer sessions will be held at elementary and middle school campuses that will already be open for special education programs, and most high schools.

Trustees have been cutting spending by the millions to balance its budget in the face of continual state funding reductions, and summer school was a threatened program.

The district adopted an anti-social promotion policy several years ago and required summer school for students in danger of not advancing to the next grade.

Dropping the requirement was proposed in case the district canceled summer school for budgetary reasons.

“I don’t want to water down our standards just because we may not be able to afford something,” board member John De Beck said.

More will be learned about state funding next month, and the school board will adopt a budget in June.

They’ll do so without a permanent superintendent or chief financial officer.

The board approved a job description for superintendent at tonight’s meeting. A search committee has been formed to screen candidates, and the board hopes to make a selection in by the end of the academic year.

William Kowba is the interim superintendent in place of Terry Grier, who left for Houston last year.

Kowba said board members in closed session accepted the resignation of Chief Financial Officer James Masias, who was placed on administrative leave two weeks ago. There has been no official word about what happened to Masias because it is a personnel matter.

Several financial executives have taken on Masias’ responsibilities since he left.