Tuesday, March 6, 2012
SAN DIEGO San Diego’s teachers union has not agreed to open contract negotiations despite repeated requests to do so from city school leaders. The board of education will vote tonight on sending more than 1,600 notices of possible layoffs to close their $122 million shortfall.
San Diego Unified trustees have said hundreds of layoffs are the only way to close the district’s budget gap after years of cuts to programs and services. Last week, Board of Education President John Lee Evans issued a letter to the teachers union saying that many of the layoffs could be avoided if unions agree to forego the restoration of five school days and pay raises scheduled for next year.
Teachers union President Bill Freeman has said the district’s current budget forecast is based on unreliable state budget projections and that makes it premature to give up pay raises teachers need.
The district has been able to rescind layoff notices in past years because of one-time fixes and increased state revenues between January and June, when budgets get finalized. District spokesman Bernie Rhinerson said that’s unlikely this year since state revenues have come in below projections since the start of the year. Trustees will also vote tonight on seeking bids to manage the district’s health insurance programs in the hopes of saving money.