Sports Spared as Board Makes $61M in Cuts

Big changes could be coming to some San Diego schools. From larger classes to a hike in lunch prices, San Diego Unified is feeling the brunt of the budget crisis.

In a marathon session Tuesday, the school board made millions of dollars in cuts. It was a long day, not only for the school board, but also for the parents and students who pleaded their case. 

It took almost 12 hours but the San Diego School Board is close to finalizing their budget. They cut about $61 million and have less than $2 million to go.

“We think we will find that easily through some of the programs we have in the district so we are very happy,” School Board President Sheila Jackson said.

So how did they do it? Among other things, they're increasing the cost of lunch by 25 cents, cutting eight world language teachers, increasing class sizes in 9th grade English classes, some gifted classes, and in kindergarten through third grade.

But there was some good news; the athletics and visual and performing arts program was saved and so were the Balboa Park and Old Town programs. The 6th grade camp at Palomar will also stay and six small schools will stay open.

There were cuts to vice principal and counselor positions, but people holding those jobs won’t be out of work, instead they will fill other vacancies.

“People said it couldn't be done but we have managed to balance our budget without laying off our teachers by trimming programs,” Jackson said.

The school board says the cuts weren't easy but they had no other choice.

“It just wears us out we feel victimized,” Superintendent Terry Grier said. “Where we are standing here today, if the economy doesn’t turn around, we will find ourselves here next year”

The school board will meet again next Tuesday, where they will look at the budget figures again.

The school board is required to pass a balanced budget by the end of this month.

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