The Learning Curve is a weekly column that answers questions about schools using plain language. Have a question about how your local schools work? Write me at Mario.Koran@voiceofsandiego.org. ♦♦♦ Earlier this week, we published a list of the 20 schools in San Diego Unified where the most teachers are facing layoffs. And as has happened in […]
Low-income schools are set to bear the brunt of San Diego Unified’s multimillion-dollar budget cuts. For 16 of the 20 schools in San Diego Unified facing the most teacher layoff notices, at least 75 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.
That layoffs hit the poorest schools hardest is generally accepted as true – both by people who want to preserve the current system of teacher protections and those who want to dismantle it.
School board trustees recently voted to eliminate the district’s internal audit office. It’s not clear how that move would comply with a state law that prevents schools from freely outsourcing employee jobs – something the district said it plans to do. The district’s legal counsel said she’s confident the plan passes legal muster.
In 2000, California voters made it easier to pass school bonds, but they included a caveat: The money can’t be spent on employee salaries. So it may come as a surprise to learn school districts statewide have been freely — and legally — spending bond money on employee salaries and benefits for more than a decade.
San Diego Unified and Grossmont Union are suing to shut down certain charter schools that offer online credit-recovery courses and independent study options, saying they’re illegally operating within their boundaries. Meanwhile, San Diego Unified is expanding its own versions of those programs, hoping to capitalize on the growing market for non-traditional education options and hold onto students who would otherwise leave.
How many positions are being lost as part of San Diego Unified’s budget cuts? Depending on who you ask, it’s either 400 to 500, or “more than 800,” or 850, or 977 or more than 1,500. The district’s own documents and top officials have only added to the confusion.
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.
What does a $6 million cut to “Property” or a $1.5 million cut to “Civic Center” entail? On those and a number of other issues, parents, community members and even employees are struggling to understand what the cuts mean.
San Diego Unified officials expect the average condition of school buildings to improve from poor to fair by July 2024, but it’ll take millions from the state and the district’s own general fund – on top of two existing multibillion-dollar school bonds – to make it happen.