San Diego county and city pension funds have nearly $7 billion less in the bank than they need to cover benefits already earned by current and former employees, a deficit that’s risen 90 percent in just two years, new reports show.
Every time school budget problems are in the news, readers always want to know: What about the California Lottery money that’s supposed to be sent to schools? Public records show state lottery money is often a small drop in a much larger bucket that is a school district’s annual budget.
John Collins’ past compensation as superintendent of Poway Unified is being investigated by the San Diego County district attorney’s office, according to court documents.
San Diego Unified officials earlier this month announced they’d need to cut at least $116.6 million in spending to balance next year’s budget, and identified three broad areas where the cuts would come from. But the district can’t say what those three areas currently cost. If the central office can cut $44 million, what is that $44 million from?
From San Diego Unified to Poway Unified to Chula Vista Elementary, officials upped their spending dramatically in recent years, budget documents show. Some got into the habit of spending more than they received, while others walked the line as closely as possible.
Poway Unified leaders are tightening the purse strings on vacation payouts and credit card charges – expenses the former superintendent was accused of exploiting.
On the table are “strategic” layoffs, changes to health benefits, reducing the work year for some employees and eliminating vacant positions, among other things.
An illustration of how San Diego Unified School District’s revenues and expenses have changed over the last 10 years.
San Diego Unified officials are used to spending money faster than they receive it, which has resulted in budget shortfalls totaling millions of dollars each year. But this time, it’s different.
One turf industry veteran said colliding with hardened turf can be like hitting “frozen Earth or concrete.” The NFL tests its fields for hardness before every single game. A Voice of San Diego survey found nearly none of San Diego County’s public schools are testing their fields for hardness regularly and only a few districts have tested them at all. Several local school districts are skipping the tests even though field contracts require them.