The San Diego Unified School District discussed their tentative agreement with the teacher’s union at a very long board meeting held Friday night.
The meeting included talks about shortening the school year by almost one month if the proposed state tax increase doesn't pass in November.
The district also voted to close Bayview Terrace Elementary School and voted to move a Manderin Chinese Immersion program into the school site.
The Board said they're trying to find ways to maintain class sizes and avoid cutting the school year by finding ways to cut costs in other areas.
"I would rather have dead grass in front of the high school than cut the school year,” said Scott Barnett, vice president of the San Diego Board of Education.
The district said they could also cut maintenance and healthcare costs.
The board said if the tax increase ballot doesn't pass in November, there will still be an $80 million deficit and three weeks less of school – which means more layoffs.
This deficit is huge for the second-larget school district in California that, just a few months ago, had threatened to declare insolvency.
Upset parents attended the school board meeting Friday and sounded off regarding their concerns. Some parents said their children have been pawns in the negotiations between the district and teachers.
Parents are also very concerned students could potentially lose a full month of school under the tentative agreement.
“All along, our children have been sitting on a train track with two large trains heading towards them. That alone, has been our frustration, that our children are pawns in this exercise,” expressed one concerned parent.
At least seven parent advocate groups attended Friday's meeting in hopeS their voices will make a difference.
Teachers have yet to ratify the tentative agreement reached earlier this week, which could save jobs.
Under the deal, 1,372 teacher layoff notices were rescinded.
However, part of the concessions outlined in the deal include at least five unpaid furlough days. That could go as high as 19 days if two tax measures fail to pass in November, which has raised a huge red flag for parents.
Barnett agrees with those parents.
Before Friday’s meeting, Barnett outlined a plan he said will save those school days. It includes changes to the current healthcare plan.
“The option I'm proposing is actually better for teachers because they would not have an additional three-week pay cut, which has got to be a significant burden on those teachers,” Barnett said.
The San Diego Education Association (SDEA) confirmed that teachers will be voting on their tentative agreement with the school disctrict on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
The designated voting times are from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day at the SDEA office on San Diego Mission Road.