School Board Stuck With All-Cuts Option
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
State budget uncertainty is forcing San Diego city schools toward nearly $115 million in planned cuts for next school year.
SAN DIEGO San Diego Unified Board of Education members had hoped a final state budget would guarantee more funding to operate schools. But without a final state budget, San Diego Unified is counting on an all-cuts spending plan.
That means nearly all of the $115 million in planned cuts for next year will stand, including the more than 2,000 layoff notices sent to district staff this year.
If state legislators do agree to a final budget that includes at least $36 million more for San Diego schools, board members already know how they'll use it.
They voted 3-to-2 to bring back more than 500 school employees. Some board members wanted to save the money to offset future deficits, but board president Richard Barrera said retaining teachers will provide more stability for students.
“If we fund the positions for next year, the door is open to being able to figure out how to fund those positions again in 2012-2013," he said. "If we cut the positions now, we might be in a position to restore them in 12-13 but we’ve just cost a year of school.”
Positions slated for restoration include about 300 kindergarten through third grade teachers.
The district's visual and performing arts program and two music teachers for district magnet programs were the only positions pulled off the chopping block by the board at Tuesday afternoon's meeting. They voted to use $1.5 million in projected utility cost savings to restore the positions.