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School Board To Hold Closed-Session Meeting Saturday On Union Negotiations

The San Diego Unified School District scheduled a closed-session Board of Education meeting tomorrow after the union representing teachers decided to negotiate to save teacher jobs.

The notice published by the district said the topic of the 1 p.m. special meeting at SDUSD headquarters was collective bargaining.

A written statement issued today by Bill Freeman, president of the San Diego Education Association, said the union's board of directors voted to authorize limited negotiations with the district, which handed out pink slips to 1,534 teachers and other credentialed employees.

The purpose of their decision was to stop the layoffs, defend classrooms and protect their profession, Freeman said.

"The elected leaders of the SDEA believe this is the right way to proceed based on a recent analysis of the district's budget conducted by a team of SDEA members and California Teachers Association budget analysts,'' Freeman said. "Unlike past years, the economic challenges facing the district and the state have not improved.''

Freeman said SDEA negotiators and the district would have to agree on a scope for the talks before substantive discussions could begin.

The union has long challenged the real depth of the school district's financial troubles. District officials say they face a budget shortfall of about $120 million for the next school year, which prompted the layoffs notices.

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