SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego Unified School District Board of Education members said Tuesday they have run out of options to avoid cutting more than 900 jobs next week.
The school board is expected to vote at its next meeting, March 10, to eliminate the equivalent of 910 full-time jobs, which district staff determined would be necessary to resolve an estimated $120 million budget shortfall for the next school year.
Because some of the jobs are shared by part-time employees, the actual number of people receiving layoff notices is expected to be higher.
Under state law, teachers must be notified by March 15 if they are in jeopardy of losing their jobs.
Board member Scott Barnett said while the board has directed staff to explore alternatives for lessening budget impacts, "right now we have no other options."
Although Barnett said he would like to consider options like cutting back health coverage for school district employees, he said the school board cannot make those decisions.
"There are other options (the district) can look at, but we can't look at them," Barnett said. "We need our partners to work with us to find solutions."
If the school board decides next week to cut the jobs, teachers and other staff will receive pink slips warning them their jobs will likely be eliminated before the next school year.
In previous years, most of the teacher layoffs were rescinded before the jobs were actually chopped.
However, district officials have said that because of the state and local budget deficits, and because the district's biggest expense is personnel costs, the chances are slimmer that layoff notices will be pulled back this time.
About half the proposed cuts will affect elementary school teachers, including a proposal to increase class size from 22 to 29.5 for kindergarten through third grade.
Another 230 of the proposed layoff notices would go to middle and high school teachers, including 83 English and 45 music instructors.
The proposed reductions also include eight principals, 25 vice principals, 42 nurses and 59 counselors.
Board member Kevin Beiser said he is not ready to give up on stopping the layoffs.
"I want to do everything I can possibly do to hold the line on class sizes, to prevent laying off my fellow teachers, to find the resources to prevent laying off music and band teachers, to prevent laying off nurses and counselors and to preserve the other programs that are important to our children's education," Beiser said.
Beiser called it "appalling" that the state government was forcing public education funding to be cut.
However, school board Vice President John Lee Evans said Gov. Jerry Brown has taken a "reasonable stand" on education budgets.
"In recent years we haven't had as strong an advocate as our current governor," Evans said.
In an attempt to reduce job cuts, school board President Richard Barrera sent a letter to Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council on Friday asking that a list of redevelopment projects being considered by council members be amended to include an advance to the school district of $64 million that would be due in fiscal years 2018-20.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said what Barrera was really requesting was not an addition to the redevelopment list, but an amendment to a 1992 cooperation agreement between the Centre City Development Corp. and school district.
Because that deal was not under consideration at the meeting, action by the council would violate the Brown Act, the state's open meeting law, Goldsmith advised.
Council President Tony Young said he would place the issue on a future agenda if his colleagues displayed support for an amendment.
During Tuesday's school board meeting, Barrera asked staff to investigate whether the school district could switch from using redevelopment funds for a downtown library project to using money from Proposition S, a school repair bond measure passed in 2008.
All board members and many audience members at Tuesday's meeting wore yellow stickers that read "Save Music," a gesture to show support for arts education. Several students who signed up to give public comment at the meeting also played musical instruments or sang.
"Music is basically just like salt," one student said. "You can go without it, but everything is much better with it."
The San Diego Yacht Club will welcome the International Masters Regatta back to the city Friday for the start of a three-day sailing competition.
An ex-con who allegedly killed the proprietor of an East Village flooring-materials store at the victim's downtown business during a robbery pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge that could lead to the death penalty if he's convicted.
UTC Aerospace Systems plans to wind down manufacturing at its Chula Vista aircraft plant beginning early next year, eliminating around 300 jobs, it was reported Friday.
Defined as a person who behaves badly, but in an amusing way, a scallywag does not mean to cause harm, but to have fun. The same kind of mischief will be happening on Saturday, October 20 at Waterfront Parki in downtown San Diego as the day long Ye Scallywag music and beer festival takes place.
A light plane occupied by a flight instructor and a student pilot made a safe emergency landing Friday amid late-morning traffic on Interstate 8 in El Cajon.
Residents in El Cajon are sounding the alarm on what they say are growing problems related to increased homelessness in the area. Some neighbors say they feel unsafe in their own yards because of drug use and nearby encampments.
Strong and gusty Santa Ana winds, low humidity and warm temperatures prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag fire warning Friday denoting a strong risk of wildfire in San Diego County.
San Diego State University students who were recently vaccinated for meningitis may need to receive the vaccine again, the school and Walgreens warned on Friday.
A man who allegedly murdered the proprietor of an East Village flooring-materials store at the victim's downtown business while wearing a Halloween-style old-lady mask is in custody, facing charges of murder and robbery. San Diego police reported Thursday.
A pedestrian was rescued from underneath a vehicle Friday after she was struck near an Interstate 805 on-ramp in the Mountain View area, authorities said.