As I reported earlier this week, San Diego Unified School District board approved a budget with which it wasn’t all too happy after district staff said it was too late to make any changes.

At the meeting Wednesday, board President Luis Acle suggested that board members vote on several contentious elements of the budget, like a new truancy-prevention center and an ROTC program, separately, to give the school board the option of removing them from the document. That proposal was scrapped, however, when the district’s Chief Financial Officer Bill Kowba told the board that the school system could not create a new spending plan that incorporated these changes in time for the state’s July 1 deadline. Instead, the board will consider amending the already approved document in late July.

Today, the Los Angeles Times reported today what happened at the Los Angeles Unified School District’s board meeting on Thursday, when trustees approved that district’s budget. In L.A., the paper said, the board members were able to make several last-minute changes:

Faced with growing public criticism, (Superintendent David L.) Brewer relented somewhat on a proposal to recoup nearly $5 million by charging after-school youth groups to use district athletic fields and facilities. He agreed to lower the fees that will be imposed and to use a sliding scale so groups that serve low-income children pay less.

Brewer also scrambled to appease some board members’ concerns about his proposal to reduce at midyear the number of teachers assigned to those schools where student enrollment drops. To help administrators keep staffing levels stable at such schools, Brewer agreed to free up some so-called restricted funds and to allow schools to put aside money at the start of the year.

In L.A., where the district’s general fund is more than five times larger than San Diego’s, looks like updating the budget did not pose the same challenge.

VLADIMIR KOGAN

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