$45 Million in Budget Cuts Approved, For Now

The San Diego School Board granted tentative approval to more than $45 million in budget cuts for the next school year, as reported by our online media partner, Voiceofsandiego.org

The $45.3 million will be combined with help from $2 million pulled from central offices, $1.2 million by changing school schedules to streamline bus schedules and $9 million pulled from giving veteran employees a golden handshake. None of the budget cuts would involve layoffs or salary cuts.

But that's not all. The district also faces a shortfall of more than $63 million for next year due to state budget cuts and rising
costs in fuel, utilities, salaries and benefits.

Add to that another $33.2 million in cuts the school board made for the current budget year.

"We are in a very precarious situation," said Superintendent Terry Grier. He added, "I worry that this gap is going to continue to broaden.This is not a onetime problem."

While the first round of cuts were considered relatively painless, the remaining options will be more painful, ranging from cutting teachers to make classes larger, trimming salaries, slashing arts programs or shutting down small elementary schools.

The board is also trying to find an additional $14 million to put towards individual school budgets. The next item on the menu is for school board members to comb through the list of possible cuts and prioritize their thoughts by this Thursday.

"I just find it appalling," said school board member Richard Barrera, referring to how the state Legislature has handled the budget crisis. He was particularly upset by state decisions to limit how much textbook funding could be freed up to cover other needs. Barrera added, "Shame on them."

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