San Diego school board president under investigation - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego school board president under investigation

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - During a meeting Tuesday night, the vice president of the San Diego Unified School Board says that at next week's board meeting, he will ask for an independent investigation into San Diego School Board President Marne Foster who is accused of abusing her power as board president to benefit her son's college future. 

The president is accused of using her power to gain access to her son's confidential college recommendation letter, then ordering staff to write a more favorable letter. She also faces allegations of raising money for her son's tuition using the district's website.

"She went and fought for her son. That's ok in my eye. If I was on the board and I am a parent on this side, I would fight for my side too. The second one with the fundraiser for her kid, that was shaky," says Rev. Shane Harris of National Action Network.

Members of the National Action Network are standing behind Foster, citing her commitment to southeast communities. Since being sworn in three years ago, she has been credited with helping struggling schools.

"Are we going to focus on one issue, or are we going to focus on the ten things she has done right? She's the only minority we have on the board, so let's realize some of these things," says Rev. Harris.

However, J. Luke Wood at San Diego State University says that when it comes to politics, one wrong can be enough to push someone out of office.

"Taken in isolation, this might not be a big case. But in the context of the other allegations, in terms of raising money for her kid to go to school and exerting influence in other issues, it speaks to a pattern of misbehavior," says Wood.

A 2015 San Diego County  grand jury report never named the trustee it was investigating, but outlined several recommendations following allegations similar to those against Foster. However, Superintendent Cindy Marten declined to follow any of them, noting a lack of facts indicating any actual wrongdoing. Wood says the mere suggestion of wrong doing may mean Foster has to step aside.

"Regardless of whether she's in the right or wrong, in some of these cases, once you lost the trust as a public official, it's time to move on and allow someone else to come in and do the job effectively," says Wood.

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