District to Pilot Board Texting Initiative

MEDIA ADVISORY: San Diego Unified to Pilot “Boost Democracy,” a First-of-its-Kind Texting Initiative for Government Agencies in Partnership with Initiative’s Author Shane Harris of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates
Posted on 07/07/2021

 

 

 

 

July 7, 2021


MEDIA ADVISORY

San Diego Unified to Pilot “Boost Democracy,” a First-of-its-Kind Texting Initiative for Government Agencies in Partnership with Initiative’s Author Shane Harris of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates

WHAT:
Shane Harris’s office of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates has recently launched a new intergovernmental advocacy campaign in San Diego County aimed at creating more efficiency at public government meetings. Titled “Boost Democracy”, the campaign urges four of San Diego County’s largest government agencies to adopt a “text message notification” system to text constituents when the agenda item they want to speak on comes up at a public meeting.
San Diego Unified School District Board of Education President Richard Barrera will join Shane Harris, the author of “Boost Democracy,” and the policy’s allies tomorrow to announce the San Diego Unified pilot of the “Boost Democracy” open government texting notifications at the upcoming July 13 Board of Education meeting, with a goal of making online and hybrid San Diego Unified school board meetings more accessible to the public throughout the pandemic.

Harris, the policy’s author, along with other civic groups will continue their push for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Board of Education to adopt the policy as large government agencies that hear from many constituents from week to week. Harris will outline the importance of continuing the telecommute platform for public meetings for those who cannot make it into the chambers. He will give an update on how the policy is being received locally in the other three agencies, throughout the region, and across California. San Diego Unified will be the first agency to pilot the effort. This comes after many endorsements of the policy have rolled in as well as the San Diego Union Tribune’s editorial board’s recent endorsement of the effort giving a nod to governments to adopt the policy.

WHEN:
Thursday, July 8, 2021 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE:
Board Meeting Chambers
Eugene Brucker Education Center
4100 Normal St., San Diego CA 92103

VISUALS:
Press conference in board meeting chambers, the “Boost Democracy” Buzz Lightyear and Rocket cardboard cutout, the California and American flags.

SPEAKERS:
Richard Barrera, Board of Ed. President, San Diego Unified
Rev. Shane Harris, President, People’s Association of Justice Advocates
Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, Board of Ed. Vice President, San Diego Unified
Kasey Zahner, Moms Demand Action
Mark Powell, President, Parents for Quality Education
Yusef Miller, North County Equity and Justice Coalition

BACKGROUND
:
San Diego Unified and Harris of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates have partnered to make online and hybrid school board meetings during the pandemic more accessible to San Diegans.

San Diego Unified has agreed to pilot a way to notify stakeholders when an agenda item they are interested in is up for discussion during online and hybrid board meetings established during the pandemic.

San Diego Unified School District will be the first government agency in the county and likely in the country to launch a pilot of this kind. Texting people when their agenda item comes forth will likely become a new national model for local governments.
San Diego Unified strongly encourages civic engagement and understands that school board meetings can run long, often requiring several hours of an individual’s time. This open government texting notifications will make it easier for stakeholders to participate in online and hybrid board meetings.

*This event is for professional journalists. Please confirm attendance in advance.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Samer Naji, 619-548-3388; snaji@sandi.net
Jason Verrett, info@pajmovement.org