UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS: School board votes to sell school sites to keep budget balanced

(CNS) – The San Diego Unified School District Board of
Education Tuesday night added two school sites to the properties it planned to sell
as part of a three-year plan to keep the budget balanced and build reserves
until funding from a voter-approved state tax increase fully kicked in.

The board voted 4-1 to approve resolutions stating its intent to sell
the former MacMullen and Stevenson elementary school sites.

The MacMullen site in Sorrento Valley was being used as a light
industrial park, and the Stevenson site housed the private Horizon Christian
Elementary School via a lease agreement, according to the district.

Those sales, along with that of five other previously identified
properties, were expected to bring in more than $115 million, district
officials said.

Deputy Superintendent of Business Phil Stover said state funding from
the voter-approved Proposition 30 would fill the district's budget deficits
over time, but the additional monies were not expected right away. He said the
district would use the real estate sales as part of the three-year strategy to
hold it over until the funding fully materialized.

“We're going to bridge the chasm between the deficit and a solid
financial footing because Prop. 30 does not kick in right away,” Stover said.
“This year we're seeing nothing, next year we'll have a minimal amount of
dollars from Prop. 30, so we're looking at a bridge strategy.”

The district's plan to eliminate its structural deficits and build
reserves by the end of the 2015-16 fiscal year also included an attrition-based
staff reduction and a staffing plan in line with declining enrollment,
controlled health care costs and realignment of programs without affecting
students' academic well-being.

Stover said the attrition-based reductions were expected to save the
district between $30 million and $34 million annually.

For the last six years the district balanced its budget one year at a
time, but Proposition 30 would provide significant additional revenue to help
solve the district's structural budget deficit, Stover said. However, the
increased state funding would not fully alleviate the district's budget woes,
he said.

“If we adhere to our plan, and if we are disciplined and resolved in
our intent, then we will finally be able to see where those lines of the
deficit and revenue (and) savings intersect,” Stover said. “We can get out of
this cycle that we've had for so many years now of budget deficits.”

Categories: KUSI