San Diego School Board Talking About Tough Budget Cuts - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego School Board Talking About Tough Budget Cuts

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The San Diego Unified School District is bracing for some big budget cuts. It approved a plan Tuesday to close a multi-million dollar budget gap for this fiscal year.

It's hard to come up with an exact figure when the state has yet to pass a budget, but SDUSD wants to be prepared. At a special board meeting Tuesday morning, members voted 3-2 to approve budget cuts for the projected $33.2 million 2008-2009 shortfall. About $4.5 million will be freed up from using excess money in the workers compensation fund.  By freezing 264 vacant positions, the district would potentially save $6.2 million.

"We asked the staff not to hire anyone, unless it is essential," San Diego Unified School Board President Sheila Jackson said.

The district wants to free up $6.3 million by using a federal fund to pay custodians. Spending the $4 million reserve balance will cover the cost of required district reserves. The biggest projected savings, at $7.7 million, comes from cutting back on office operations like new school buses or travel expenses.

"We have asked that people not go out and buy a lot of things," Jackson said.

The district will free up $150,000 by charging a three percent administrative fee for facilities that house students, and $4.5 million from shifting money from the general fund set aside for mid-year cuts at the state level. That frees up a total of $33.2 million for school year 2008-2009.

"Maybe we trim things a little here, a little there, versus eliminating altogether," Jackson said.

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