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San Diego Unified School District
March 30, 2010

Bill Freeman is the new president
for San Diego Education

Bill Freeman spent a few years helping
children, and now he is rising in a remarkably
undemocratic and secretive organization. It
remains to be seen whether this move will be
beneficial to children--or to Mr. Freeman
himself. Mr. Freeman was elected by a very
small number of people to head the San
Diego local affiliate of California Teachers
Association (CTA), which elects its president
and vice president by a group voice vote
behind closed doors. It’s a top-down
organization in which getting ahead means
doing what you’re told and not asking
questions. Perhaps this will go well for Mr.
Freeman since he has military experience
and is therefore accustomed to taking and
giving orders without explanations. Mr.
Freeman will be working with (and under)
CTA director Jim Groth, who believes all
teachers should stay "on message."

Sadly, school administrators are just as
adamant as the teachers union that teachers
not think for themselves, or, if they do think for
themselves, that they not talk to anyone about
their thoughts. No wonder students don't
learn to think critically, and don't learn to
participate fully in our democracy.

New President for Teachers Union
March 26, 2010
Voice of San Diego
Emily Alpert

The San Diego Unified teachers union has a
new president-to-be: Bill Freeman, who
teaches third grade at Porter Elementary in
Lincoln Park and now serves as union

Freeman has taught for 12 years in San
Diego Unified; he chose to teach in
elementary school because he mentored
middle and high schoolers while serving in
the military and decided that he needed to
intervene earlier. He was Elementary School
Teacher of the Year in San Diego Unified last

Freeman will replace provocative teachers
union leader Camille Zombro, who is termed
out this August; Zombro will become vice
president of the union and return to teaching
full time. Both were elected through an online
vote that Zombro said was unfortunately low
in turnout, though she didn't have exact
numbers available this morning.

Like Zombro, Freeman isn't a fan of No Child
Left Behind, which he said "will totally
eradicate public schools" unless it is
seriously revised. But he said he would differ
from Zombro by making the teachers union
more visible in the community, to improve the
public perception of teachers...

Four SDUSD Democratic board
members find the courage to stand
up to the teachers union
February 12, 2010

John De Beck always had the courage to
criticize the teachers union; citizens can
rejoice now that Richard Barrera, John Lee
Evans and Shelia Jackson have done the

Camille Zombro and Jim Groth of the San
Diego Education Association (SDEA) might
want to pull their heads out of the ground and
realize that its time to acknowledge the real
world: there's a limit to how long citizens will
continue to bow to the arbitrary demands of

Pressing Labor for Cuts Triggers 'Surreal'
Shakeup on School Board
Voice of San Diego
Feb 11, 2010

After another plan failed to dig up enough
savings, San Diego Unified is now under
even more pressure to squeeze employees
to balance its budget.

The prolonged budget crisis has put some
board members at odds with the same
unions that helped to elect them -- and
jumbled the usual dynamics of the politicized

Longtime labor ally Richard Barrera is
seeking deeper concessions from the
teachers union, along with John Lee Evans,
who was elected on a pledge to protect
teachers. John de Beck and Shelia Jackson,
who have often disagreed on labor issues in
recent years, are both pushing the idea of
progressive salary cuts that fall harder on
employees who earn more...

The San Diego Unified School District (The District) is the second largest district in
the state and the eighth largest district in the United States, serving 135,000
students. There are 221 schools within The District, including magnet schools and
charter schools. The District budget for 2009/2010 is approximately 2.2 billion
dollars. There are approximately 8.5 million dollars in Associated Student Body
(ASB) Funds raised by the students and held in trust by The District.

The 2009/2010 San Diego County Grand Jury received and investigated complaints
concerning the improper administration of the ASB funds of the School of Creative
and Performing Arts (The School), a District magnet school serving 1,500 students
with a budget of approximately 8.2 million dollars.

The investigation of these complaints led to an expanded investigation resulting in
the discovery of similar and related administrative issues at other schools within The
District. The essence, for The School and other schools within The District, involves
the mismanagement and misuse of ASB funds and the failure to implement District
mandated internal financial controls for ASB funds.

This investigation in turn led to discovery of misuse, misappropriation and
commingling of District General Funds, over-payments of salary, bonuses and
overtime, under-reporting of vacation time, and inaccurate expense and accounts
payable treatment. More irregularities came to light through the District Ethics and
Compliance Employee Hotline (the Hotline) operated by the District Internal Auditor
and staffed by one investigator.

The fact that the District Internal Auditor (the District Auditor) is not authorized to
conduct annual audits of charter schools and the unavailability of the Hotline to
charter school employees, students, and teachers led to an investigation of charter
school oversight...
2010 Grand Jury Report
Gompers Charter School
Illegal school fees
Controversial Teachers Union Leader Zombro Voted
March 20, 2012
By Will Carless
Voice of San Diego

Camille Zombro, widely considered the architect of the San Diego Education
Association’s shift towards a more hard-line, isolationist philosophy and a long-
respected power broker in local education, has lost her bid for re-election as the
teachers union’s vice president.

The result comes just two weeks after Zombro’s key ally, Craig Leedham, was placed
on administrative leave. The removal of the two divisive, high-ranking officials comes
at a crucial time for negotiations with the San Diego Unified School District.
According to the SDEA website, Zombro lost the election by more than 100 votes.

Her challenger, elementary school teacher Lindsay Burningham, received 381 votes
to Zombro’s 279. Union President Bill Freeman was unchallenged in the election and
remains in his post.

Burningham said she’s looking forward to working with Freeman.

“I’m really excited to start working with Bill to move the union in a more positive
direction,” she said.

Zombro will continue to work for the union under a grant-funded position.
Burningham wasn’t sure what capacity Zombro would continue in.

The removal of the two people who are widely considered to have soured relations
between the union and the school district comes with San Diego Unified facing an
estimated $80 million to $120 million deficit next year. Though those numbers are
preliminary and represent a worst-case scenario, Superintendent Bill Kowba has
warned that at least 1,000 teachers will likely lose their jobs unless the district can
make a deal with its labor unions.

Kowba and the school board have asked the union to negotiate concessions to their
pay and benefits, in return for a promise that no teachers will be laid off. So far, the
union has refused to sit down and negotiate with the school board.
Former SDEA president Don Crawford said he was “ecstatic” at the news of
Burningham’s election. He said Burningham has shown a willingness to reopen
relations with the school district and at least talk about forging a solution to the
current fiscal crisis with the school board.

“The SDEA went into a period of stagnation under Zombro,” Crawford said. “I think
Bill Freeman has faced obstruction from both her and the executive director and now
he’ll be able to fully take the reins with his new partner and move the union forwards.”
Zombro was elected president of the union in 2006. During her tenure, the SDEA
severed relations with a group representing retired teachers, dropped out of
committees it once served on with other unions, canceled regular meetings with
district leaders and barred its staff from meeting regularly and informally with district

Former SDEA officials decried that isolationist approach recently and chided Zombro
and Leedham for their divisive and often brusque or unprofessional attitude.
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