School board vows to ensure data is accurate

By City News Service

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education will turn its focus this year on using accurate data to make decisions about the district’s finances and students, board members said Tuesday.

The school board, which welcomed new members Scott Barnett and Kevin Beiser on Monday, spent most of today talking about their goals for the upcoming year, said board President Richard Barrera.

“We talked about the things we value most, why we ran for office and the things we hope to accomplish,” he said. “What emerged was a very clear consensus that we should be making sure we make decisions based on data.”

That data includes information on the district’s finances and performance at individual schools, Barnett said.

“Data is ultimately the key, knowledge is power,” he said. “If we’re going to make intelligent, credible decisions, we have to be fact-based and data-based.”

Barrera said the school board would continue to advocate for education funding, but also must “take the resources that are available to us and use them efficiently.”

One way the school board will do that is through an Operations and Efficiency Ad Hoc Committee established Monday to seek out cost-saving efficiencies in the district’s operations, Barrera said. Barnett and Beiser will run the committee.

Barrera characterized Tuesday’s pow-wow with the new school board members as an “extraordinary conversation.”

“I haven’t heard a board in our district be so honest with each other, and at the end of the day so hopeful that even though we have areas of disagreement, we will push forward and find a consensus,” he said.