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County Wary of SD Unified’s Land-Sales Plan


The San Diego Unified School District still plans to sell off more properties [1] to help solve its estimated $86 million budget deficit this year. Here are three updates on the plan.

County Ed Board Not Happy About One-Time Budget Solutions

On Jan. 30, the district received a response letter from the San Diego County Office of Education regarding its first interim budget report. That’s the first, preliminary version of the district’s budget, which has to be looked over by the county.

The letter expresses several concerns, including the fact that San Diego Unified will have to make further cuts in future years to balance its books, and is diminishing more of its reserves.

The county concludes that the budget should receive a “qualified” rating, meaning the district can balance its budget this year, but it will have to come up with new solutions to balance it in the next two years.

The letter also says:

As the district makes budget reductions, we recommend that the district recommend ongoing cuts as opposed to one-time cuts to reduce the budget’s structural imbalance.

That’s significant. It’s a sign that the county is concerned about the district’s reliance on one-time measures like selling land to fix a structural deficit problem.

Superintendent Bill Kowba wrote an email response to the letter. In it, he writes:

I am hoping that this coming year will be the last where property sales are a major solution because of their one-time nature.

You can read the full letter here [2].

Mapping the Proposed Properties 

I’ve put together a Google map charting the locations of the four properties proposed for sale. Click on each property for some basic info on it. I’ll be updating this as I learn more about each proposed sale.

Here’s the map:

View San Diego Unified Properties Planned For Sale [3] in a larger map

San Diego Explained: A Primer on Land Sales

This week’s edition of San Diego Explained takes a look at the land sales, and makes for a great three-minute primer [4] on the issue:

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org [5] or 619.550.5670.

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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here [9].