SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education Thursday approved a $1.8 billion budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year and a contract with its teachers.
The budget is down from about $2 billion this year for the fiscal year ending Saturday. The district projected a $98.4 million deficit for the 2013-14 fiscal year, and a $27.5 million deficit for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
The school district faced going into the next academic year with an estimated budget shortfall of around $120 million.
The district issued layoff notices in March to save about $68 million. The teacher concessions equal that amount and cuts were made in other areas.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the budget. An amended budget that includes teacher concessions will be voted on later this summer.
The contract, ratified by members of the San Diego Education Association with 67 percent support, called for teachers to defer scheduled pay raises and take five unpaid days off in exchange for saving nearly 1,500 jobs.
“All we wanted all year was to have both sides sit down, talk and look at the situation and what became very clear is everybody really wanted the same thing, which was to protect and improve the education of the kids in San Diego and that’s how we were able to come up with a deal,” board President John Lee Evans said before the 4-0 vote.
Evans said not only would schools be fully staffed, it was a new day for collaboration between the district and union that hadn’t existed for years and when faced with future problems they would work together more.
Up to 15 furlough days will be required if the tax increase supported by Gov. Jerry Brown is rejected by voters in November.
Passing the initiative is very important for the district’s future and San Diego will be an important battleground, said a statement from San Diego Education Association released following the ratification.
“Our union and our schools can win, but we have a lot of work to do between now and November to educate our communities on the importance of making education a top priority in California,” the statement read.
Evans said the district would also work hard to get the ballot initiative passed.
“Our teachers have made a sacrifice, they have made an investment,” Evans said. “What we are asking of all the rest of us is really very little in comparison to what we asked of the teachers, and the counselors and the nurses.
“It’s a quarter-cent sales tax. If you buy a book for $20 it will cost you (5) cents more. This is just a tiny amount that goes a long way to protect the education of kids all across the state of California.”
John Kabateck, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business/California, said last week the initiative’s “huge tax increases will destroy our small businesses and cost us jobs.”
“This measure simply gives the politicians in Sacramento more tax money to spend on pet projects, like pensions and the high speed train to nowhere,” Kabateck said.
Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/rss/ci_17085939?source=rss