Intense Drama at San Diego Somali Charter School

VOICE of SAN DIEGO — Earlier this year, a school district investigation found a variety of problems at a San Diego charter school designed to educate local immigrants from Somalia. There are more problems, our reporting finds. They include an expensive legal battle, withheld renovation funds from the San Diego Unified district, infighting among the school’s board members and multiple complaints alleging discrimination and retaliation.

As our Maya Srikrishan puts it in a new report, “Iftin Charter School has gotten itself into a huge, expensive mess,” one that’s cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees this year alone.

The school, named for a word that means enlightened in Somali, is 11 years old. It serves the big and largely poor Somali community in City Heights. Our story tracks the ongoing bitter drama that’s played out over the last several months, spawning resignations and dividing teachers, parents and members of the school’s board.

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