A new plan could save some teachers from budget ax

The San Diego Unified School District may soon be canceling layoff notices to teachers under a plan to siphon money committed to the downtown library project. KUSI's Steve Bosh has details from the newsroom reports on the latest details.

The district has committed 20-million dollars to the library project in return for putting a charter high school on two of its upper floors. It will take 7-million out of that pot and replace it with Prop-S bond money.

If nothing else you gotta give the district an “A” for being creative in finding money to keep teachers on the payroll.

Redevelopment dollars are supposed to be for buildings only but the district found a way around that and next week Board President Richard Barrera will ask the board to transfer 7-million dollars away from the downtown library, and into the school budget.

“We will be able to meet our commitments to the library, met our commitments to the Prop-S program, in fact, accelerate some projects there, and more importantly restore some of the positions for the kindergarten thru 3rd grade,” said Barrera.

Barrera says other savings will come from changes to outside contracts totaling up to 4-million dollars, “to restore some nursing positions, and some of the music and arts teachers, so its a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of people that right now are facing layoff notices.”

This could save hundreds of teacher positions, and keep some class sizes at a manageable level.

The district is 114-million short for next year's budget amidst its worst ever financial crisis. This shift of funds is troubling to some because it deviates from what voters approved 3-years ago.

Prop-S promised an elementary school, not a high school, and not in downtown area. Lani Lutar of the County Taxpayers Association says these are risky moves.

“If the district and agencies continue to play with the taxpayers money and not follow thru in their original commitments that are made they're not gonna get money the next time that they ask for it,” said Lutar.

Lutar is also critical of the city moving forward with the library project knowing it's 30-million dollars short. Private money was supposed to foot the bill.

Lutar expects those responsible for raising the funds will at some point say we can't find the donors, we need taxpayer dollars.

Categories: KUSI