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SDUSD Reaches Tentative Agreement On School Cop Salaries

Aired 2/10/12 on KPBS News.

The San Diego Unified School District today announced a tentative agreement with its Police Officers Association to hold the line on salaries and maintain furloughs for the next school year.

The San Diego Unified School District today announced a tentative agreement with its Police Officers Association to hold the line on salaries and maintain furloughs for the next school year.

"This is an important step toward handling the cuts imposed on us by the state of California," said Superintendent Bill Kowba. "We salute our police officers for their dedication to the students and sacrifice that they and their families are making in this time of need."

Depending on how financial issues work out at the state level, the SDUSD could face a $122 million budget shortfall for the 2012-13 school year. The district has been in financial straits for about six years now.

The 63 sworn officers in the department will not receive any pay raises, and will continue to take five annual unpaid days off as they have last year and this year, according to the SDUSD.

"We value the need to maintain a safe environment so our students can continue to excel," said Jesus Montana, president of the Police Officers Association. "We understand that in this budget crisis, we all need to tighten our belts."

The officers and trustees are scheduled to vote on ratification of the new contract terms next week. John Lee Evans, president of the school board, said he hopes other employee unions will help the district solve its budget problems.

Earlier this week, the San Diego Education Association - the teacher's union - called on the district to stop operating off worst-case budget scenarios that never come to pass. It asked trustees to stop issuing layoff notices to educators, based on "false projections," because the employees are almost always recalled later.

The statement, from SDEA President Bill Freeman, said the district should ask for concessions only when state cuts actually happen.

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