San Diego Unified expects to lose $70 million if state budget cuts aren’t averted, Interim Superintendent Bill Kowba said.

The cuts include an anticipated 6.5 percent rollback to San Diego Unified’s general fund, which includes programs such as special education, child nutrition, gifted and talented education and professional development, and a 10.9 percent cut to adult education.

To help the district save money, the school board has already authorized a hiring freeze in the central office, reductions in staff overtime, and limitations on travel and out-of-town conferences.

Kowba cautioned that the $70 million number is “a first number, not a last number.” Depending on the actions of the state legislature, the senate and the governor, the cuts descending from Sacramento may change.

“I wish there was some certainty to it … so we could focus our minds on strategies,” Kowba said. One thing does seem certain, however. “This is so large a [cut] that I can’t envision any part of the budget being isolated or protected.”

EMILY ALPERT

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