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San Diego Unified Facing Budget Shortfall

The outside of the Board of Education building for the San Diego Unified Scho...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: The outside of the Board of Education building for the San Diego Unified School District is shown in this photo, March 24, 2016.

The San Diego Unified School District will face a budget shortfall of more than $124 million for the 2017-18 school year, according to a report presented Tuesday night to the Board of Trustees.

That's $7 million more of a deficit for the 2017-18 school year than what was estimated last month and is due to the state budget proposed this month by Gov. Jerry Brown, according to district officials.

Related: $116M In The Red, San Diego Unified Looks To Close Its Budget Gap

"The governor is very concerned about uncertain times in the future," Patricia Cook, the district's interim chief financial officer told the board.

"He believes that a recession is inevitable, in fact, many economists believe the same thing. This has been a very booming economy for longer than the usual cycle and so everyone knows there's a recession coming, we just don't know when it is."

Cook also made a reference to President Donald Trump in her presentation to the board.

There are also changes at the federal level that could have very significant impacts on the California economy and the California budget," she said.

Superintendent Cindy Marten assured the board that she will stay focused on the district's priorities and honor the commitments made to students.

"We will take the approximately $1 billion budget that we do have and we will allocate those resources with these priorities in mind to make sure that we remain focused on early learning, our college and career pathways, our advanced course work, student reconnection, wellness centers, our family and community engagement work that just got started this year, to stay invested in that, our integrated student support services, and we can be sure we have school climates and cultures that are worthy of our students," Marten said.

Lindsay Burningham, president of the San Diego Education Association, the union representing the district's teachers, urged the board to avoid layoffs.

"At this juncture, we must prepare and discuss how our students will receive the quality education they deserve with less educators available to do so," Burningham said. "It is of paramount importance that the district not make decisions over educator staffing levels in a rash manner."

Board Vice President Kevin Beiser said Brown has backtracked on his commitment to California's children.

"I just hope that we have a collective voice and that we hopefully let Governor Brown know that we really, really hope that he fulfills that commitment in a stronger way," Beiser said.

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