By Karen Kurcher / SignOnSanDiego / July 11, 2011
An initiative that would have asked voters to approve adding four appointed members to the five-member San Diego school board failed to gather enough valid signatures to put the measure on the ballot, San Diego officials said Monday.
San Diegans 4 Great Schools, a group supporting the proposed ballot measure, had submitted more than 133,000 signatures in April as they sought to qualify the measure for a future election.
However, the county Registrar of Voters found an insufficient number of valid signatures had been collected. The measure needed 93,085 signatures and county officials found that 90,027 were valid, said Denise Jenkins, an elections analyst in the City Clerk’s Office.
“It pretty much just ends because it was insufficient,” Jenkins said.
The initiative would have imposed term limits on trustees and require that they were voted into office in geographic regions of San Diego rather than from the district at large.
Proponents had said they believed the initiative would help depoliticize the San Diego Unified School District, increase accountability and improve public education in the state’s second-largest district. Backers included Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and real estate mogul Malin Burnham.
Critics had argued that the movement would erode the democratic process, bust unions and possibly lead to a new education system that could include privatization.
Scott Himelstein, president of San Diegans 4 Great Schools and director of the University of San Diego’s Center for Educational Policy and Law, reached in Sacramento late Monday, said he had not yet heard of the decision.
“If this is the case, it obviously is a very bitter disappointment not only for myself but all the folks who worked on this. and more importantly it is a stall in a chance to reform our education system and our governance structure,” he said.