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A Very Different School Year Ahead

Audio

Aired 9/7/10

School is back in session today across San Diego County. However, it will be a very different kind of academic year.

Danielle Zdunich, a teacher at McKinley Elementary School, reads a book to her students, March 2010.
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Above: Danielle Zdunich, a teacher at McKinley Elementary School, reads a book to her students, March 2010.

— School is back in session today across San Diego County. However, it will be a very different kind of academic year.

The San Diego Unified District has cut $134 million from its budget this year. Poway Unified slashed $27 million. Grossmont Union High School District chopped off $18 million.

That's on top of big cuts they've already made over the past several years.

As a result, school districts across San Diego County are forcing teachers and staff to take furlough days. That means a smaller paycheck for employees and a shorter school year for kids.

Many districts have also slashed their supply budgets, meaning no new materials and supplies. School communities are donating what they can.

Teacher Michelle Janette says her motto this year is reuse and recycle.

“I have some old reams of paper that I have squirreled away,” Janette said. “If (school officials) don't have it in the office, at least I'm good for a while. But, I think it's important for children to know they have to take care of things that taxpayers have to supply.”

Class sizes will also go up across the county due to layoffs.

In San Diego Unified, the second largest district in California, a new superintendent will take the reins. Schools chief Bill Kowba has surrounded himself with nine veteran educators who will watch over schools in different parts of the district.

San Diego Unified's approach to reform this year is to let schools decide what's best for their kids. School principals will be responsible for developing educational strategies at their campus.

Teacher Cathy Ramos looks forward to getting down to business.

“Every second of the day, I'm devoting to somebody.” Ramos said. “As a teacher, you need to be able to manage your time and you need to be able to manage yourself.”

Math instruction and critical thinking skills will be emphasized district-wide this year. However critics say San Diego Unified's approach is short on specifics.

Comments

Avatar for user 'oldschoolcool'

oldschoolcool | September 7, 2010 at 12:52 a.m. ― 3 years, 12 months ago

We are ALL watching very carefully. Taking notes, pictures, budget audits, enrollment eligibility, pay, and oh so much more.
Ready to report the facts at the end of the year. It is already looking bad! I can't wait for all the facts. We expect over 600hrs of video information on who, what, where.
This is already interesting... I got my Lapel Pin! What a great idea.... NOT!
Even under a microscope, this is going to be an embarrassment to the school systems budget. ALL of them. It already looks clueless. Lapel pin anyone?

We will see much more soon... who are you paying for to go to school? What cost? For what?

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | September 7, 2010 at 12:36 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

sweet..so when do our taxes get decreased???

not going to happen...what a freakin joke...

these are not centes of education..how could they be when all of their resources are taken away...this is simply daycare....

this is exacly what you get though when you leave vital aspects of life up to the government to procure...CRAP CRAP and more CRAP...

people need to start homeschooling and looking into setting up more community based learning facilities. We need to really start taking a hands on approach to teaching the kids.

how do accept that that we need to make all these cuts but we still have to pay the same...SIGNS of a BROKEN people.

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