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San Diego Schools Prepare for ‘Doomsday’ Budget

— State legislators could resort to cuts alone to close California’s remaining $15 billion budget gap. If that happens, San Diego Unified would have make even more cuts to its already downsized spending for next year.

This week district staff will start looking for ways to remove more than a $50 million from next year’s budget.

After removing $115 million from the last proposed spending plan for next year, there isn’t a lot left to cut, said Ron Little, the district’s chief financial officer.

Staff will look at how much could be saved by closing and consolidating schools and reducing student busing, Little said. Any other remaining cost saving measures would require entering into negotiations with the district’s employee bargaining units.

The Board of Education voted last week to direct staff to draw up alternative budgets so that the district wouldn’t be left scrambling if legislators cut education funding further to balance the state budget.

Several board members said further cuts would be logistically unfeasible, and called the new alternative budgets 'doomsday scenarios.'

“We have to do something dramatic to let the people know that this significant cut to education is detrimental to the future of San Diego and the future of our state,” said Board member Sheila Jackson. “It’s time for us to start saying that this state cannot survive.”

Little said the alternative budgets should be presented to the board shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown presents his revised budget proposal in May.

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