SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A dispute broke open Thursday among trustees of the San Diego Unified School District over the perilous nature of the agency's finances.
The district has issued layoff notices to numerous employees as it grapples with a projected budget shortfall of more than $100 million for the next school year.
School board member Scott Barnett scheduled, then canceled, a news conference in which he planned to propose an overhaul of the district's finances. He then said he would meet with reporters later.
"It's time for all of us to accept the truth -- we are insolvent and must act," Barnett said.
School board President John Lee Evans held his own press event instead and urged a "calm, rational approach to the problem."
He said debate has reached extremes.
"One board member is panicking and saying we need to declare insolvency," Evans said. "Some union leaders have said that the financial crisis is not as deep as we have been saying."
He also criticized San Diego mayoral candidates for opining about how to run the SDUSD without knowing the facts.
One of those candidates, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis -- the most outspoken in her comments about the district during the campaign -- released a statement that supported Evans' point of view.
"San Diegans don't want to see our schools declared insolvent and turned over to the state for the same reason they didn't want the city of San Diego to declare bankruptcy in 2005 -- it's a cop out that turns our destiny over to others instead of solving the problem," Dumanis said. "San Diego took the tougher path of reform, and the result is a better city government -- the same needs to happen at San Diego Unified."
She said a state takeover of the district would be "a disaster" for students and the area economy, since no one will relocate a business to a city where the school district has gone "belly up."
Barnett said the question is whether to give up political control or lose about 2,000 employees who've been issued pink slips.
"We're using desperation tactics, we're devastating classrooms," Barnett said.
He said class sizes will rise dramatically, and the district will have to sell off $20 million of its property.
Firefighters have halted the spread of that roughly five-acre brush fire off state Route 67 and Slaughterhouse Canyon Road in the Foster area, near Lakeside, according to Cal Fire.
It's that time of year again - the kids are going back to school. San Diego Unified starts next Monday and the superintendent of the school district Cindy Marten visited Morning Extra to discuss back-to-school initiatives in academics, wellness and fitness, science and technology, and civic leadership.
It's back to school for kids and teachers around the county! To mark the occasion, News 8 asked our reporters and anchors to share their photos from their younger days - ready to learn! Can you guess who they are?
It's back to school for several school districts over the next few weeks and that means it’s time to purchase school supplies.
San Diego opponents of legislation that would allow cities around the state to extend the closing time for bars to 4 a.m., from the current 2 a.m., said Tuesday the bill would create problems that would spread into the community.
The country's largest paint and sip franchise is adding a splash of color to a San Diego neighborhood. Painting With a Twist lets local artists share their secrets with guests in an art studio as they learn to create a work of art and socialize at the same time. News 8's Ashley Jacobs reports from Rancho Bernardo with the details.
Trial continued Tuesday for an often-deported Mexican citizen charged in a hit-and-run crash that injured a 6-year-old boy earlier this year in San Ysidro.
A car believed to have been used in the abduction of a 9-year-old boy in Santa Maria, prompting an Amber Alert in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, was found abandoned Tuesday, but the child and the suspect remained missing and were believed to be traveling in another vehicle.
An Eastlake family is bringing awareness to heart screening during the third annual Cristian's Big Heart 5K.