This post has been updated.
When Superintendent Cindy Marten was handed the keys to San Diego Unified, she inherited some daunting mandates: Make good on the salary raises promised to teachers, honor employment contracts, give students access to more resources. And do it all with a $106 million budget deficit.
A year into her tenure, Marten’s first budget passed Tuesday with unanimous support — the first time that’s happened since 2008.
How it Came Together
The picture looked bright in January.
The district was still facing a structural deficit – meaning it’s fundamentally set up to spend more than it takes in – but there was hope that the additional funds Gov. Jerry Brown would be allocating to schools through the Local Control Funding Formula would be enough to keep the lights on.
That’s when Marten took a bold step, promising to beef up services for preschool-aged children, improve services for English-language learners in middle school and expand credit recovery and dropout prevention efforts for high school students.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Hey I got an Idea, read the paper. Obama what to spend 3.7 billion dollars to fix the problems of the 50,000 illegal minors that walk across the border. If you don't protest to the government about spending 3.7 billion of your tax dollars on this issue then you need to stop crying about no money. Actually todays children will be be paying for this debt when were long gone. This is a scam people, it does take 3.7 BILLION dollars to fix the problem, more like a C30 transport plane and some rice and beans. Protest!
Give Cindy credit for negotiating the state's insane method of funding education. This really goes all the way back to Prop 13. The conservative governors-see Reagan, Deukmajian and Wilson woeful underfunded education and Brown hasn't got the money to properly fix education funding. The answer is a split real estate tax where commercial property taxes keep up with inflation. Prop 13 was an enormous unfair taxation of the rest of us while commercial real estate hasn't paid its fair share.
To save money, Martin issues the decree to remove resource teachers from their current jobs (educating non-English speaking students, supporting transitional students, etc.) and putting them into a full-time teaching position.
Then, she touts how her new budget will
"Allocate more resources for English-language learners, including language development classes and better monitoring of programs and expanded training for teachers."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but these two plans are contradictory in nature. How in the bloody H**l will removing resource teachers equate to allocating more resources for English language learners? And why didn't the school board catch this Catch-22?
Just to clarify, the budget that passed last night did not include the increased costs of the CalSTRS pension payments. The SD County of Education did not require this because these costs were a moving target in the state legislature during the district's budget development. The district will provide the board with an updated budget in July that includes changes such as the increased funding for LCFF, the increased cost for CalSTRS, and Scott Barnett's proposal to eliminate real estate sales.
I applaud the district's efforts to become fiscally solvent and the board and district approaching the budget discussions with a three-year strategy and not just getting through the upcoming school year. While not included in this article, it is of note that the district has identified deficits of more than $60 million annually for 2015-16 and 2016-17, even without the increased CalSTRS payments (which will ratchet from approximately $3 million to nearly $60 million annually over the next seven years). So while SDUSD can breathe a sigh of relief, the budget squeeze for the district will continue for several years.
The reality is that per pupil spending in California is significantly less than the national average (CA ranks at or near the bottom when adjusted for regional cost averages), which is why SDUSD and districts across the state are scrambling to meet their obligations, much less restoring salaries, programs and services cut during the recession. If we want California to be restored as a leader in education, rather than languishing at the bottom, then financial investment will be needed. Instead of handing schools debts (like the bulk of the CalSTRS pension liability) and shifting schools' property tax revenues to cover other obligations (see www.yesforeducation.org), the folks in Sacramento need to recognize that they are balancing the state budget on the the backs of students by starving them of a high quality education.
How much money is being spent to fully implement Common Core?
How much to implement its testing?
Now with Bill gates asking for a two year moratorium on testing and many states dropping common core or threatening to, should SDUSD look at saving those costs?
Common Core is standing on wobbly legs across the nation...maybe SDUSD should reconsider?
It would certainly save in all the lost class time students have had for teacher training this past school year.
@Dennis @Dennis Schamp
To answer your questions (from the trenches):
1) way too much
2) even more than #1
3&4 ) yes they should. In fact, I believe that we should join those other states who have opted out of common core and create our own
5) Yes it would. We're being asked to take 10 days in the coming year for CC PD. That's 10 days that I'm forced out of my classroom, to work on curriculum that should have been completed by now, so that we'd have time over the summer to review and prepare our lesson strategies for the fall. Instead, we're going to be writing this stuff on the fly...but still over the summer.
(Yes, friends, contrary to popular belief, teachers do work during the months of June, July, and August. Just ask my family).