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San Diego Unified Library, Mental Health Workers Dodge Budget Ax

Photo by Megan Burks / KPBS

Above: Educators hold signs that read "Protect San Diego Students" and "What's the Plan?" at the San Diego Unified Board of Education meeting, April 25, 3017.

Most of San Diego Unified’s libraries will remain staffed next year. The district and its employees union have shaken on a deal to avert layoffs for dozens of library technicians — a move that would have all but decimated the district's libraries.

The technicians, mental health clinicians and campus police officers agreed to take 14 furlough days to save their jobs. The furloughs will not impact the school year — workers will take them when school is out.

More than 100 maintenance workers and bus drivers did not agree to the furloughs before Thursday's deadline and remain on the chopping block. They join nearly 600 other classified employees who received layoff notices earlier this year.

Those workers include library assistants who, at some elementary schools, are the only workers staffing the libraries. They also include noon duty assistants who watch over children at lunch, occupational therapists and other professionals who help students with special needs, and assistants who help English-language learners.

RELATED: What Parents Of Students With Special Needs Can Expect Under San Diego Unified Cuts

The cuts still aren't final and could be offset by an early retirement program for classified employees. More than 500 classified workers have applied for the program.

A retirement program for certificated workers allowed the district last week to rescind nearly 500 layoff notices sent to teachers. That's about half of those put on notice in March.

This district could not say Friday whether a rosier state budget would help mitigate layoffs. Gov. Jerry Brown has added $1.1 billion to his budget for K-12 schools, bringing the total to $2.8 billion. That's a 5.4 percent increase over last year.

Superintendent Cindy Marten has said she would not use additional state dollars to save jobs, saying solutions to the district's structural deficit need to be permanent. The district is $124 million in the hole because of rising pension costs, and because it has not cut expenditures in pace with declining enrollment. The district predicts it will have a $52.5 million deficit next school year.

San Diego Unified Avoids Some Layoffs With Retirement Package, Furlough

GUEST:

Richard Barrera, president, San Diego Unified School District Board of Education

Transcript

In April, the San Diego Unified School District proposed budget cuts that would have all but decimated its libraries.

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