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S.D. Unified Balances Next Year’s Budget

Formal approval needed by month’s end

Audio

Aired 6/17/09

The San Diego Unified school board has balanced the district's budget for next school after getting some much needed help from the state and federal government.

— The San Diego Unified school board has balanced the district's budget for next school after getting some much needed help from the state and federal government.

Last week the school board approved a total of $93 million in budget cuts in order to fill a $106 million budget hole. But yesterday the board was informed that budget hole was smaller -- only $80 million.

The reason is federal and state officials finally gave San Diego Unified the go-ahead to use hefty amounts of education stimulus dollars. On top of that, the district was given the flexibility to use earmarked education funding to balance the budget. School trustee John Evans says the district is now $13 million in the black -- and not a single teacher was laid off.

"We do have the budget balanced for the 2009-2010 school year," Evans said. "But I think the message is pretty clear from this board that we can do even a little better for 2009-2010."

Evans says the board will continue to push the district to cut costs and find savings.

But San Diego Unified is not out of the woods yet. The one-time money the federal government provided for this budget won't be there the following year.

San Diego Unified officials say they still have budget problems because they continue to spend more than they take-in. They say the deficit could hit $112 million over the next few years.

School board member Katherine Nakamura remains adamant the district needs to pull the lever on salary rollbacks, work furloughs and layoffs. She says the board is responsible.

"We can jump up and down and say its everyone else’s fault...but the truth is we are elected to protect taxpayers dollars," Nakamura said. "Using one-time money doesn't cut it. We have to make decisions."

The trustees still have to formally approve the district's spending plan by the end of the month.

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