San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten said Tuesday that teacher layoffs for the 2017-2018 school year may drop below 200, down from 952 notices this spring. Marten offered no other explanation, and district staff said this week final layoff numbers are not yet available.

A group of well-resourced parents at Gage Elementary, and even the school board member who represents them, say they’ve hit a brick wall when it comes to getting answers from San Diego Unified about school budget cuts. If they can’t get basic info, one parent said, “What chance does the rest of this district have?”

In March, a Superior Court judge ruled in VOSD’s favor that San Diego Unified had improperly withheld emails between district staff, school board members and Superintendent Cindy Marten related to the removal of the former principal for the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

San Diego Unified’s Quality Assurance Office was supposed to be a hub of accountability where parents, students and employees could get their complaints heard and investigated. But hundreds of pages of testimony from one of multiple lawsuits involving the office show decisions about student safety were made without crucial information, and other troubling issues.

Principals and parents are bracing for cuts as San Diego Unified School District staff prepare a budget for trustees that could include layoffs to close a $124 million shortfall. The superintendent wrote that she would seek creative solutions to make sure class sizes remain unchanged.

A San Diego Unified investigation found Serra High’s principal might have lied about his credentials. Instead of dismissing the principal, the district moved him to a “special assignment” position – a lateral move that allows him to keep his $143,000 yearly salary. At least 13 principals have been moved to similar roles, some after experiencing problems.

Next year John Ross, who was appointed to lead Lincoln in 2014, will move to the district’s Placement and Appeal Department, where he’ll work with students who’ve been incarcerated or are facing expulsion. Ross becomes the third principal to leave Lincoln since 2007, when the school reopened with a $129 million campus.