Study: School districts spend too much on suits
Sherry Saavedra
January 4, 2008

Overburdened school districts must spend huge amounts of money defending
lawsuits instead of on teachers' salaries, renovations and school supplies,
according to a statewide study released yesterday.

Three of California's five largest school districts, including San Diego Unified,
paid $32.8 million in litigation costs in the fiscal 2005, according to a report by
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. The Sacramento-based organization seeks to
combat lawsuit abuse.

San Diego city schools spent $1.4 million on verdicts and settlements and $3.2
million on outside counsel in fiscal 2005, according to the report. That money
could have purchased 1.8 million packs of crayons.

The study found that 77 percent of principals and 61 percent of teachers think
their colleagues avoid decisions they believe are right because they might be
legally challenged. –S.S.

Nature center using grant to upgrade online reach
CHULA VISTA: A $10,000 technology grant awarded by the AT&T Foundation
will help the Chula Vista Nature Center upgrade its online capabilities to expand
community outreach efforts.

The AT&T Excelerator grant will allow the Nature Center to receive
contributions, grant memberships and offer educational materials online. The
grant money also will pay for a webcam that will provide 24/7 footage of the
center's pair of golden eagles.

Located on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, the Chula Vista
Nature Center is an internationally recognized zoo/aquarium that focuses on
native plants and animals including sea turtles, rays, hawks and clapper rails. –

UCSD gets $1 million for older adult classes
LA JOLLA: University of California San Diego has received a $1 million
endowment grant to enhance educational programming for older adults.

The gift for UCSD Extension's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will increase
course offerings, draw more high-profile speakers and boost marketing for the
program. The gift was provided by the Bernard Osher Foundation, a San
Francisco-based group that supports higher education and the arts.

Institute courses are open to adults ages 50 and older. Attendees pay $200 to
attend unlimited courses for a year. No grades or college credit is given.

The program offers more than 120 academic courses, tours and social events
throughout the year. Current classes range from Jungian psychology to
conversational Yiddish. –E.Y.S.

Staff writers Craig Gustafson, Sherry Saavedra, Robert Krier, Anne Krueger,
Tanya Mannes and Eleanor Yang Su contributed to this report.  
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