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SD School Trustee Calls For Schools To Shut Down

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Aired 4/19/09

San Diego Unified school trustee John de Beck rolls out his plan at a news conference at district headquarters. (Photo: Ana Tintocalis/KPBS)

San Diego Unified's veteran school board member John de Beck wants local public schools to shut down for two weeks this year in order to deal with a state funding shortfall. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
 

De Beck says California's education ship is sinking and San Diego Unified is onboard.
 

The district faces a possible $50 million state funding cut this year. The district expects to lose even more state funding next year.
 

De Beck wants to declare a fiscal emergency and shorten the school year by two weeks. He says that would save the district $40 million. 
 

De Beck says another $15,000 could be saved if the school board works for free.
 

He says the district has to act now.
 

De Beck: We can control our own destiny here in San Diego. Our valued employees can retain their jobs and continue to provide essential services and programs. Even though they may face difficulty, that unhappy situation is far less painful than that faced by the majority of unemployed citizens.

 

De Beck's proposal is not new. Earlier this year the Governor proposed lopping off five days from the school year to save money. And other superintendents in California are considering similar plans. 

 

De Beck says the move would prevent layoffs and more harmful cuts in San Diego Unified. 

 

But trustee Richard Barrera says kids need more class time, not less. He says there are smarter ways to cut. He says the district has to learn how to handle its money. 

 

Barrera:

This district does not manage its money very well. And so before we can go to our parents and our students and say we're going to cut back on the days you're going to be at school, we have to do our job first.

 

Others say union contracts make the idea impractical. De Beck's plan will be considered by the board next week.

 

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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