With budget advisors frowning on the practice, San Diego Unified schools are unlikely to raid the district’s reserve funds to blunt upcoming state cuts.

To pull money from its reserves, San Diego Unified would need to get a waiver from the state Department of Education. Today, the district’s Audit and Finance Committee voted against seeking that waiver, noting that after San Diego Unified borrowed from the fund in 2003, it took three years to restore the reserve, an emergency fund for major catastrophes.

By law, San Diego Unified has to keep a reserve equaling 2 percent of its general budget. A waiver, if approved, would allow the district to keep only 1 percent locked away.

“It’s just so fiscally sacred,” said county treasurer and tax collector Dan McAllister, who heads the committee.

Pulling money from the reserves could also damage the district’s credit rating — a problem as the district anticipates putting a bond measure on the November ballot, trustee and committee member Katherine Nakamura said.


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