San Diego

SDUSD Leaders Approve $124 Million Budget Cut

The board vote will eliminate 891 positions

San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) leaders voted Tuesday to move forward with a $124 million budget cut.

The board's vote will eliminate 891 positions.

Some of the positions that will be eliminated are currently unfilled, according to SDUSD Public Informations Officers Andrew Sharp.

Those can include resource teachers and speech language pathologists, among others. Sharp did not provide an exact number of unfilled positions.

There are also more than 1,500 teachers who are of retirement age and were offered a retirement package in an effort to save jobs, Sharp told NBC 7.

“We want to emphasize these are not layoffs. Any of these people can choose to retire early,” Sharp said.

He said the district estimates approximately half of the teachers will accept the early retirement package.

“These are valuable roles that we really didn’t want to have to eliminate,” Sharp said. “But had to find more efficient ways to deliver the service.”

Those employees who keep their jobs will have a reduced work year, meaning they will take a pay cut.

But parents and teachers were not happy with the board's decision to cut back.

"Our students should not have to suffer because of district mismanagement of tax dollars. Please do your part to cut away from the classroom and cut at the central office," said teacher Sara Holerud.

SDUSD said they will know how many layoff notices will be sent out starting in early March. They are waiting to see how many teachers will accept the early retirement offers.

The district also added that the cuts would not affect classroom sizes--on average, transitional kindergarten to third grade will have about 24 students per class, while fourth through fifth grade will have 35 students. Higher grades will have no more than 36 students.

“San Diego students are achieving more than ever with some of the highest graduation rates and test scores in the state, so our entire focus has been on protecting the supports for students that are producing these great results,” said Board President Richard Barrera, in a statement. “The package we approved tonight protects these gains, while ensuring the long-term fiscal stability of our district.”

Trustees have agreed to take a 5.4 percent pay cut, which is the equivalent of a fourteen-day work year reduction, as part of the approved budget. The cuts will be effective July 1.

According to the district, trustees are paid $1,500 per month. Compensation will be reduced by $81 per month. The total savings for the district will be $4,860 per year.

Superintendent Marten has agreed to the same 5.4 percent pay cut.

"I’m asking the Board to have them reduce my salary as well," Marten told NBC 7 before the meeting. "So you’re seeing cuts as far away from the classroom as possible."

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