In 2012 alone, San Diego schools have overcome over $100 million in budgetary shortfalls, which prompted nearly $136 million in teacher concessions and layoffs. In June, San Diego 6 reported that teachers agreed to postpone pay raises and take five unpaid days off in an attempt to save almost 1,500 jobs. In spite of these cuts, projections for 2013-2014 are not much better. When asked about the budget shortfalls, San Diego Unified Board Vice President Scott Barnett, remarked:
“[S]adly, years of poor financial stewardship has resulted in a bleak future for school finances. Even with recent employee concessions agreeing to delay salary increases, and even if the state wide tax measures pass in November, SDUSD will be facing a shortfall of $50 to $80 million in 13/14 school year. The primary reason is the annual automatic salary increases and the growing health and welfare costs have continued while state funding has been reduced. “
Local ballot initiatives like Proposition Z, and state initiatives like Propositions 30 and 38 could improve SDUSD’s financial position come November, but the future of San Diego’s education budget remains uncertain. SDUSD has projected a $98.4 million deficit for the 2013-14 fiscal year, and a $27.5 million deficit for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Should these initiatives fail, San Diego Schools could be in even greater trouble. Barnett says:
“If the state tax measures fail, and the state economy does not see strong growth, SDUSD is facing a shortfall of over $100 million in 13/14. Unfortunately my board colleagues have done little to address these ongoing budget concerns. The likely result will be laying off of up to 1000 teachers next year. In addition, school closures, and reductions in nursing and counseling will need to be considered.”
Dr. John Lee Evans, the Board of Education President plans to release his ‘State of the District’ address on October 2nd at University City High School. Additional updates will follow as more develops with the San Diego School District budget.