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Severe as they are, the budget cuts I wrote about at Curie Elementary are actually smaller than originally planned. At first, San Diego Unified asked all elementary schools to cut 5 percent from their budgets. Principal Chris Juarez spent hours formulating his own budget spreadsheet and found that the cuts were literally impossible, mandating that he cut more money than was under his control, he said.

“I couldn’t even do a budget. Something had to change. I couldn’t staff my school,” Juarez said. In response, the district rolled back the cuts slightly for Curie and other small or highly-impacted schools, to a 3 percent cut.

“I told them, look, I know we’re part of the cuts,” Juarez said. “But a school like Curie can’t operate like this.”

EMILY ALPERT

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