The San Diego Unified School District voted Tuesday to eliminate 254 district positions, citing shrinking enrollment at the city’s school system.

Most of the positions involve support staff like office secretaries and teaching assistants, and 53 of the eliminated jobs are currently vacant. The district expects that it will save $7 million a year through the cuts, though administrators acknowledge that the final number of laid off workers will probably be much smaller, as many of the affected staff members will likely be hired back or transferred to other positions.

They say the schools’ budgeting method tends to overestimate the number of layoffs in the spring, before the numbers are adjusted downward later in the year. Last spring, for example, the school board voted to cut 325 positions, though fewer than 22 people actually lost their jobs.

The district projects that falling enrollment will mean a budget that is 2 percent smaller next year; the number of proposed cuts amounts to roughly 0.25 percent of the district’s staff.

“I just wish we had access to some more money so we could simply solve the problem with a bigger budget,” board President Luis Acle said. “Unfortunately, that’s not an option.”

The board approved the layoffs by a 3-2 vote. Trustees Mitz Lee and Shelia Jackson voted against the cuts.


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