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County Schools Face Tight Budget In New Academic Year

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKfB_qQoKhY

Video published September 3, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: Next Tuesday will be the first day of school for many students throughout San Diego County. KPBS Education Reporter Ana Tintocalis join us to discuss the biggest challenges local school districts are facing this year.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

NEXT TUESDAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR MOST K THROUGH 12 STUDENTS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY. WITH THE STATE PHASING IN $19 --STATE FACING A $19 BILLION DEFICIT AND NO BUDGET AGREEMENT IN SIGHT, LOCALS ARE FATE FACING AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE. COMING TO DISCUSS THE KEY ISSUES AT LOCAL DISTRICTS THAT WE'LL BE GRAPPLING WITH THIS ACADEMIC YEAR. HOW IS THIS UNCERTAINTY WITH THE STATE BUDGET AFFECTING THE SCHOOLS LOCALLY?

I THINK THE UNFORTUNATE THING OF IT ALL IS THAT SCHOOLS MUST OPEN THEIR DOORS EVEN THOUGH THEIR MAIN FUNDING SOURCE, WHICH IS THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA HAS NO BUDGET. THE THING IS, SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE GETTING USED TO THIS UNCERTAINTY. IT'S THE NEW 'AT THE TIMETY. THE STATE HASN'T HAD A BUDGET FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE PAST FOUR OR FIVE YEARS. SO I THINK THEY ARE JUST GETTING USED TO THIS. THIS IS THE WAY BUSINESS IS RUN NOW IN CALIFORNIA, AND IT'S THE NEW REALITY. SO WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING TO DO NOW. MANY DISTRICTS ARE SAYING WE HAVE TO FIND OUR OWN FUNDING STREAM. THEY ARE FINDING NEW WAYS TO BRING IN MONEY THAT DOESN'T GET FUNNELED THROUGH SACRAMENTO.

WHAT ARE THE CREATIVE WAYS TO BRING IN MONEY?

SWEET WATER IN THE SOUTH BAY IS OPENING UP THEIR SCHOOLS TO ADVERTISERS TO CORPORATE SPONSORS. SO YOU MIGHT SEA McDONALD'S, GEICO PUTTING ADVERTISEMENTS SO THAT'S ONE CREATIVE WAY. SAN DIEGO AND UNIFIED ARE ALSO PUTTING PARSEP TAX INITIATIVES ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT. THESE TAXES WOULD COME DIRECTLY INTO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT. IT WOULDN'T GET FUNNELED THROUGH SACRAMENTO. THEY CAN USE IT ON TEACHER SALARIES, SCHOOL SUPPLIES, ANYTHING YOU NEED TO OPERATE THE SCHOOLS.

I'M GLAD THEY STARTED WITH HOW THEY'RE GOING TO INCREASE REVENUES, BUT I WOULD ASSUME THERE ARE GOING TO BE CUTBACKS AS WELL. THERE HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST, HAVEN'T THERE?

YEAH. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE COUNTY THERE ARE SOME TRENDS THAT EMERGE WITH HOW THE PEOPLE ARE CUTTING THE SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGETS. ONE IS THAT THEY ARE IMPLEMENTING FURLOUGHS. SO THE SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE SHORTENED BECAUSE MORE TEACHERS ARE TAKING TIME OFF. SCHOOL YEARS WILL BE SHORTENED BY FIVE DAYS. YOU ARE ALSO SEEING CLASS SIZES INCREASE AS SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE LAYING OFF TEACHERS. MORE TEACHERS ARE GETTING BUNCHED UP SO CLASS SIZES ARE GOING UP. THE BIG THING THIS YEAR IS THAT THERE WON'T BE SUPPLIES. THERE'S TEACHING MATERIALS FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS. SO WHAT YOU ARE SEEING IS SCHOOLS HAVING SCHOOL SUPPLY DAYS WHERE PARENTS ARE COMING IN HAVING TO DONATE ERASERS, PENCILS, THINGS YOU THINK ARE PRETTY RUN OF THE MILL BUT SCHOOL DISTRICTS DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THAT.

I'M THINKING ABOUT THE POORER SCHOOLS WHERE MAYBE THE PARENTS CAN'T AFFORD TO DONATE?

YOU SEE THIS AS AN EQUITY PROBLEM. YOU SEE THIS AS MORE GLARING. THE WEALTHIER SCHOOL DISTRICTS WILL HAVE EVERYTHING THEY NEED. SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE A GIFT REGISTRY LIKE A WEDDING REGISTRY WHERE THEY SAY THIS IS THE STUFF THAT I NEED AND PARENTS WILL DONATE. SO MORE WELL TO DO COMMUNITIES ARE IMPLEMENTING THAT STRATEGY. WHEREAS THE POORER SCHOOLS HAVE A TOUGH TIME, YOU KNOW, FAMILIES ARE JUST TRYING TO MAKE ENDS MEET THEMSELVES.

THERE IS A NEW SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT FOR THE COUNTY'S LARGEST DISTRICT WHO RECENTLY UNVEILED HIS DREAM TEAM OF NINE EXPERIENCED EDUCATORS WHO WOULD OVERSEE GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS OF THE DISTRICT. WHAT'S THE LOGIC BEHIND THAT APPROACH? WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO HAVE HAPPEN?

THE THING IS, I THINK IT'S TO KEEP EYES ON ALL OF THE SCHOOLS IN THE COMMUNITY. BECAUSE IT'S SO LARGE IT'S BEEN HARD TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING AT WHAT SCHOOL. SO WHEN YOU BREAK IT UP GEOGRAPHICALLY AND ASSIGN ONE LEADER TO NINE AREAS OF THE DISTRICT, THE THOUGHT IS IT'S EASIER TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. IT WILL BE INSTRUMENTAL. THIS YEAR, SUPERINTENDENT KOBAL WANTS YOU TO ALLOW SCHOOLS. SO THE TEAM LEADERS IN THE COMMUNITY WILL BE INSTRUMENTAL IN MAKING SURE IT'S ON THE SAME PAGE.

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