Editor’s Note: The San Diego Unified School Board did not approve the use of redevelopment funds to save teachers’ jobs Tuesday night, according to a district spokesperson. They simply voted to explore the option and will address the concept at a future meeting.
More than 200 teachers and staff with the San Diego Unified School District will be tearing up their pink slips after the board’s vote Tuesday night to rescind a stack of notices issued as part of its plan to cut costs.
Board members decided to use a little more than $7 million in redevelopment money intended for the so-called “Schoobrary” to help save jobs in this desperate time.
The funds from Prop S were originally intended to help fund a charter high school at the downtown library.
In 2008, voters had approved a massive school bond where $20 million was designated for an undetermined project.
Those behind the push for a new downtown library saw an opportunity and suggested the district build a school on top of the proposed library.
The school district intends to now use those funds to save 30 administrative positions and about 200 other certificated, non-administrative personnel.
While it may seem to be a creative way to save jobs, there are some who question the ability of the board to use redevelopment funds to pay teachers.
SD Unified School Board President Richard Barrera described the situation as dire and said the state should do more to help.
“The consequence of what they’re doing puts us in the situation that we literally are at risk of not being able to open school come the fall,” Barrera said. “That’s the reality of the situation we are in.”
“It’s our ability to take revenue under our control, spend it on what the priorities are for our kids at a time of unbelievable uncertainty in Sacramento, “said Barrera.
The board was able to find other administrative savings apart from layoffs.
During the same meeting, board members were split on a proposal to use the funds to restore jobs to teachers who work in kindergarten through third grade.
Barrera plans to bring this idea back to the board again when they meet next month.