San Diego Unified has a new answer to the question of just how many employees will be laid off next year to close a $124.4 million budget deficit.

San Diego Unified School officials recently added new layoff numbers to its budget FAQ page, disclosing employee cuts in three categories: 585 non-teaching staff, at least 100 administrators, plus 891 teachers, counselors, nurses and others. That makes a total of 1,576 layoffs.

The new numbers represent the latest update in what’s been a confusing process as parents, district employees and journalists struggle to understand exactly what the budget cuts represent, and what impact they’ll have on classrooms and families.

The number of employees being cut has been one of the seemingly straightforward data points that has turned out to be difficult to discern – and it’s changed more than once.

The 1,576 layoff notices include full-time and part-time employees whose hours add up to at least 977 full-time equivalent positions. That latter number still doesn’t match district documents approved by the board, which showed about 1,500 full-time equivalent positions cut.

To arrive at that number, you have to manually tally more than 800 line items on several district documents showing employee cuts that were posted online and approved by the school board Feb. 28.


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On Feb. 22, board member John Lee Evans told Fox 5 just 400 to 500 positions would be cut, possibly referring to the teacher cuts alone.

Superintendent Cindy Marten was asked directly about “850” jobs cut in an interview with Fox 5 on March 1. Marten never corrected the anchors’ numbers.

10News reported the job losses at “more than 800.” The San Diego Union-Tribune initially reported 850 jobs would be cut and is now reporting 977 positions will be lost.

One document – showing 891 full-time equivalent positions cut for teachers, counselors, nurses, vice principals and some others – continues to be a source of confusion.

It’s the same document media outlets initially relied on when first reporting the cuts, because it appeared to succinctly summarize the reductions. In reality, it left out non-teaching jobs cut like school police, food service workers, custodians, IT workers and so many others listed individually on different documents.

Now, the district says that single document reflects just 473 full-time equivalent positions cut, causing 891 employee layoffs. But the confusion will probably continue, because that document still shows 891 “Total FTE” – full-time equivalent – positions cut. It’s possible the document was mislabeled and the wrong numbers were used, but a district spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm that’s the case.

And so, the mystery continues, but at least we can all agree at least 1,500 employees will be cut one way or another next year, leaving fewer employees to serve more than 100,000 students.
Teachers will receive layoff notices by next week, and others will receive notices in April.

    This article relates to: Education, School Finances

    Written by Ashly McGlone

    Ashly is an investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego. She can be reached at ashly.mcglone@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5669.

    5 comments
    Carlynne Allbee
    Carlynne Allbee

    Mark Giffin is right.  There is an actual state law that says that if a school district is going to lay off employees, they must, MUST send out the pink slips by a certain date.  I believe it is March 31st.  If they don't, they aren't allowed to lay off the teachers.  The idea is to give them time to find another job for the next school year.  Many of the pink slips are sent out just in case, and yes are rescinded.  One veteran school teacher told me he had learned to ignore them many years earlier. 


    The system I would like to see changed is the district wide priority system.  I can understand last hired, first fired but not on a district wide basis where the senior people keep their jobs and have worked their way to the 'good" schools, while the less desirable schools keep getting a revolving door of new teachers who are the ones most likely to be layed off.  The layoffs to me, and the priority involved, should be on a school by school basis so that all schools end up with a core of teachers who have been at that particular school many years.

    Mark Giffin
    Mark Giffin subscribermember

    Correct me if I am wrong but aren't pink slips a procedural requirement of the school district and only reflect the amount of potential layoffs?  Actual layoffs are not known until the governors revised budget that comes out in May?


    This is why I find this confusing

    "And so, the mystery continues, but at least we can all agree at least 1,500 employees will be cut one way or another next year, leaving fewer employees to serve more than 100,000 students.
    Teachers will receive layoff notices by next week, and others will receive notices in April."

    Ashly McGlone
    Ashly McGlone

    @Mark Giffin If employees take the early retirement incentive, that may reduce the number of employees laid off, but the the district still loses those employees next year to cuts 'one way or another.' 

    It's also important to note that Marten and the CFO have been stressing that even if millions more come from the state in May this year, it is unlikely to make much difference. Per the U-T, "Marten pledges not to use that money, if it comes, to give some of the pink-slipped employees a reprieve." (http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sd-me-politicalnb-0312-story.html)

    Even with $124M+ cut, there is another separate $50M deficit projected for 2018-19. Any costs added back to next year's budget will add to the deficit in following years.

    DistrictDeeds wordpress com
    DistrictDeeds wordpress com subscriber

    @ashlyreports  @DistrictDeeds wordpress com Ms. McGlone---how could you ignore the District Deeds estimate of 1,783?  We posted that number on our blog March 2nd at 4:27 pm.  If we are talking layoff notices, District Deeds may have hit the number right in the nose.  A district official told us that more layoff notices were sent than needed because some employees had the exact same hire date which means the district sent more than actually needed.


    As is is, our estimate is only 207 away from the 1,576 you just published which already is more accurate than virtually all the San Diego News Media. 


    The next thing to watch is if the SERP minimums are met to actually make early retirements an option.  If not, the SDUSD will not offer SERP and more employees will be laid off.