San Diego

Looming Layoffs for Teachers After SDUSD Announces Budget Deficit

The District must cut $124 million out of its budget - approximately 10 percent of its total budget.

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) leadership will make some big decisions over the next few weeks in the face of a budget deficit.

The District must cut $124 million out of its budget - approximately 10 percent of its total budget. 

Trustees met Tuesday night to discuss what to cut to balance its budget for the 2017-2018 school year.

“We expect there to be a reduction in every department in the district," said Chief Financial Officer Patricia Koch. “Part of our approach was to try to have a fair share...We’re shrinking the entire organization by keeping more or less the same distribution.”

The cuts, she said, start at the top at the Central Office.

Those jobs include some positions in finance, human resources, legal, labor relations, payroll, and benefits. There will also be cuts in transportation, landscaping, custodial services, maintenance, security, and school police.

Koch said some positions will be eliminated altogether.

Those employees who do remain face a reduction in their work year, which amounts to a pay cut.

“Less work, less pay,” said Koch.

Koch said teachers are the only district employees whose department is not facing a shortened work year. Core class sizes will remain the same in light of the deficit.

Still, some teachers could get lay-off notices.

Preschool teacher Maria Estupinan Tijeria told NBC 7, she has already been notified she will most likely be laid off.

"It's upsetting. My husband is worried too. We are living day to day," Tijeria said. "We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."

SDUSD Board President Richard Barrera told NBC 7, he understood the frustration.

"When we've got a deficit of $124 million that we've got to face, it's going to mean impact on real people who care deeply about our kids and who care deeply about our schools," he said.

Barrera was quick to say that the looming budget deficit is part of a much bigger problem—how much money is given out to districts by the state.

"We need more resources coming in to public education and that's not a San Diego Unified problem, that's a California problem," he added.

Some elementary school vice principals will be moved back into the classroom, as will resource teachers whose job it is to support classroom teachers. As they move back, other teachers could be displaced, bumped to other schools or out of a job altogether. Koch says an early retirement incentive to senior teachers could mitigate some of that “bumping.”

“This is a huge step the Board is taking toward getting us back on solid ground,” said Koch.

The Board will vote on Tuesday, Feb. 28 and then start eliminating positions and handing out pink slips.

The final decision on how many cuts there will be won't come until June when the state approves its final budget

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Martin stops by NBC 7 San Diego to talk about the district's big budget deficit.
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