Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NEWS RELEASE -- Board Facing Tough Choices at June 2 Meeting

NEWS RELEASE from the San Diego Unified School District, May 26, 2009

Board Facing Tough Choices at June 2 Meeting

Superintendent Lists Possible Cuts to Close $135 Million Gap

SAN DIEGO -- Nearly $135 million in budget cuts for the 2009-10 school year will be considered by the Board of Education at its special June 2, 2009 meeting.

The cuts, a result of a reduction in funds from the State of California, are on top of $45 million approved by the Board on March 10.

Superintendent Terry Grier presented a list of alternatives to the Board at its budget workshop on May 26, which included a variety of program and staff reductions. In a video to the school community recorded on Friday, May 22, Grier said that expenses have continued to grow even though the funding will decline for the 2009-10 school year.

“Never in my career have I experienced the budget disaster that is now impacting California’s schools,” said Grier.

The Board spent more than two hours discussing the budget situation, which is a result of the defeat May 19 of several statewide budget propositions and lower than project tax receipts.

The May 21 revised budget statement from the Governor is a $26 million cut in the current, 2008-09 school budget, and an additional $62 million reduction in the projected 2009-10 funding, as well as $3.5 million in Title I funding. Schools must present a balanced budget for the ending, new and next school year by July 1.

Current estimates are that the district has projected expenditures for the 2009-10 school year of $1.3 billion, with funding of $1.1 billion.

Backup materials for the May 26 meeting are online; as is a full list of the proposed reductions.

Among the proposed cuts:

·       Off-Campus Integrated Learning Experiences (OCILE) programs closed; these are the weeklong Old Town (4th grade), Balboa Park (5th grade) and Palomar Mountain (6th grade camp) programs.

·       Class Size Increases: 9th grade English classes, removes 15 students to one teacher ratio; K-2 (15:1 in 29 schools) and K-3 (under state-mandated 22); GATE Seminar from 23:1 to 25:1.

·       Positions: 19 landscapers; 28 elementary counselors; 91.5 health techs; 18.5 district librarians; 43 vice principals; 110.89 central office positions.

·       25 percent reduction in school site supply budgets.

Additional items are awaiting negotiations with employee unions, including changes to the healthcare package, a district-wide salary rollback and increasing class size in grades 6-12.

Other options not currently under consideration but available for Board review are elimination of the Visual and Performing Arts Programs, athletics in grades 9-12 and reducing the district’s reserve contribution.

The time of the June 2, 2009 meeting has not yet been announced. For the agenda and other information on the meeting, go online to the district’s website, www.sandi.net.

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Jack Brandais
Communications Department
San Diego Unified School District
(619) 607-0477 (cell)
(619) 725-5570 (desk)