High school pays PR pro to meet with ‘key influencers’

The line item has drawn flak from the media, as a school district in southern California struggles to explain why it needs two PR firms in a time of belt-tightening.

Attorneys are conducting an independent investigation of the high schools for dropping some exorbitant sums of money on its public relations. Currently, Sweetwater has two PR firms working for it, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In April, the district came under fire for paying $250 an hour to Scott Alevy, a former Chula Vista councilman, of Alevy Communications. An invoice made public detailed some intriguing line items, including $750 billed for meetings with “key influencers.”

The school superintendent, district spokeswoman, and the firms themselves are taking a beating in the local press. From a recent U-T article:

“Our district has a grants and communications department and if the district feels it’s necessary for them to inform the public of their perspective on issues, we have employees that can do that,” [Teachers union president Alex] Anguiano said. “To me, (Focuscom) is another firm that is taking advantage of our district and now our district has become the money tree.”

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