Thanks to State Help, San Diego Unified Scales Back Expected Cuts - Voice of San Diego

Education UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

Thanks to State Help, San Diego Unified Scales Back Expected Cuts

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget is expected to send $25 million more to San Diego Unified than previously anticipated, so district leaders have slashed the amount they were planning to cut from next year's budget.
San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten and John Lee Evans. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

San Diego Unified School District leaders will cut $34 million from next year’s $1.4 billion budget, rather than the $47 million approved in December, district officials said Wednesday.

The decrease comes as Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget is expected to send $25 million more to the district than previously anticipated, plus another $29 million in one-time funds, the school district’s chief business officer, Greg Ottinger, told board trustees Tuesday night.

Ottinger said the extra money wasn’t enough to stave off cuts entirely, though.

“Given that, we plan to keep the course of action from December approved by the board, to determine the recommendations for central office reductions, continue seeking community input, avoiding direct cuts to school sites” as well as follow the fiscal principle of using one-time funds for one-time expenses, Ottinger said.

Ottinger didn’t tell the board or public how much the cuts would drop, but a district spokeswoman and trustee John Lee Evans said Wednesday the new number is about $34 million.

A recent community input survey asking which cuts could be tolerated received 11,000 replies, Ottinger said. Included in the 18 possible areas for cuts were things like mental health services, custodial services, as well as art and music. Ottinger told the board art, music and library cuts are no longer on the table.

As district leaders eye new cuts, the impact of last year’s $124 million in budget cuts are being felt on school campuses.

One San Diego High School student summed it up in a minute-long comment to the board this way.

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