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Teachers Union Calls SD Unified’s Budget Plan “Appalling”

The president of San Diego teachers union says San Diego Unified's proposed spending plan for next school year is "appalling." The school board adopted that plan last night. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

San Diego Unified is still working to close a $147 million budget hole for next school year. The board plans to increase class sizes for teachers, mandate fewer working days, and cutback on teacher healthcare benefits -- all of which require negotiating with the teachers union.

But president Camille Zombro says balancing a budget should not be a contract issue.

“We found out about these proposals from the media and the district’s website,” Zombro said. “(The proposals) have not been formally presented to SDEA and that's an insult. That's an insult to the educators who are calling us, and we are the last ones to know.”

District officials say their final options were among hundreds of ideas released in a public report. They say these cuts are the only way to prevent district layoffs.

Zombro hinted the union won't easily go along with the district's plans. She says teachers are already working without a contract. She says the union also compromised on an early retirement plan for veteran teachers that could save millions.

“Its important for employees and the district to take a breath and realize there is a whole lot more stuff that is going to happen from now and the time we reach a final budget,” Zombro said. “I think it’s irresponsible. It’s appalling for the district to frighten and upset employees and to pass a budget that looks like this.”

The district has a back-up plan in case negotiations don't go well. However that plan includes closing small schools, gutting arts and music, and possibly cutting teachers pay.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.  

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