Next Budget Year May Be Worst Ever

Next year's budget is likely to be the worst the San Diego Unified School Distict has seen in its 150 years, according to new superintendent Bill Kowba.

The district, running out of money and options, is weighing steep cuts to the classroom along with teacher layoffs in order to balance a projected deficit is $140 million.

School board members must submit a tentative plan to balance the budget by Dec. 15.

The School Board reviewed a list of proposed cuts at a special meeting Tuesday night. The cuts include layoffs of up to a thousand teachers, librarians and counselors and 500 support personnel.

“It could be this list. It could be a slightly different list… whatever it is, it's going to change the whole nature of this district,” said SDUSD board member John Lee Evans.

Sports programs, music and the arts could also see budgets slashed.

Ten schools may be closed down as well as the district’s police department.

“I am not going to say this is what I would cut, I think it's too early to start narrowing things down,” said SDUSD school board member Katherine Nakamura.

Ten town halls will be held in the community over the next few months to discuss the budget and potential cuts. The first is Wednesday night at San Diego High School.

School Board President Richard Barrera believes finding more things to cut is the wrong approach.

He says the proposed parcel tax, Proposition J would generate much needed money bringing in about $50 million annually for five years.

“Are we all willing to step up and make a contribution? That's the decision we have in front of us and that's the decision about Prop J,” Barrera said at Tuesday night's meeting.

Barrera also believes that San Diegans need to vote for a new governor who will make education a priority.  

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