SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Reduced state funding for special education left the San Diego Unified School District with budget gap $13 million bigger than expected, board members said Tuesday.
Combined with other shortfalls, the district is now looking at plugging a current-year budget gap estimated at $46.1 million, according to James Masias, SDUSD's chief financial officer.
The school board found ways to cover about $31 million in over-budget spending, and Masias has proposed another $15.4 million in cuts to balance the budget by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Board members said the state threw a curve ball at them when special education funding was cut.
"The rules of the game changed," said Shelia Jackson, the board president.
To help cover the remaining budget deficit, Masias recommended that the board dip into various accounts, including those involving arts and music and gifted-student programs. He said most of the money targeted is actually unspent budget carryover from previous fiscal years. None of it is for personnel expenses, he said.
School board member John De Beck said raiding funds with leftover money effectively punished those who scrimped to save.
If you're fiscally prudent, the school board will "yank it from you," De Beck said.
Jackson countered that thrifty district employees helped prevent layoffs.
Some of the funds the board want to use to balance the budget are in accounts frozen by Superintendent Terry Grier earlier this year to save money.
Grier said urban districts with more special education students were "slammed hard" by the state.
Because of changes precipitated by the state, the district's projected deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1 may rise from $63.1 million to about $71 million, Grier said.
The board needs to approve a final package of savings and deliver a report on the financial status of the district to the San Diego County Office of Education by March 15.
Copyright 2009, City News Service.
A charity run, meals for the needy, a long-running music festival and -- shhh! -- holiday shopping were on tap for Thanksgiving Day in San Diego.
The California Highway Patrol arrested 15 in San Diego County on suspicion of drunken driving, during the first night of its annual Thanksgiving "maximum enforcement period."
The always-heated topic of whether to begin holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day will be raised again Thursday, as many chain stores will open their doors around San Diego one day before the so-called "Black Friday."
A charity run, meals for the needy, a long-running music festival and holiday shopping are on tap for Thursday's Thanksgiving Day in San Diego.
Your living room often becomes your work space if you work from home. If you have kids, the house can be even more chaotic. Well now, more women are able to take 10-15 steps out of their home and into their "she shed."
Around 60,000 passengers are expected to pass through San Diego's Lindbergh Field daily during the upcoming holiday weekend.
Thanksgiving meals were provided to the needy around San Diego County Wednesday, one day ahead of the holiday.