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San Diego School Board May Warn 900 Teachers Of Layoffs

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Aired 3/14/11

San Diego’s largest school district is bracing for drastic budget cuts. Board members are set to vote tonight on whether to send layoff warnings to more than 1,500 personnel, 900 of them teachers.

California's budget crisis threatens to devastate the public-education system. Deep budget cuts are forcing school districts throughout the state to lay off thousands of teachers, expand class sizes and close programs.

San Diego Unified, the state's second largest school district, will decide Thursday on whether to send layoff warnings to 900 teachers and 600 non-teaching staff to close a $120-million budget deficit.

School board member Richard Barrera said the decision comes down to paying the bills or educating the kids. He said the cuts will be much worse if a tax extension measure proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown fails.

“The state treasurer was in town a couple of weeks ago and he started throwing around the notion of a 130-day school year. That would mean school would end at the end of March. Five months of the year, kids are out of school," Barrera said.

Other potential cuts include eight principals, 15 vice principals, 60 counselors and dozens of nurses.

The teacher layoff warnings are seniority-based, so schools that serve disadvantaged students could be hit the hardest because they often employ the most inexperienced teachers.

The San Diego Unified School Board meeting starts at 5 p.m. at district headquarters at 4100 Normal St.

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