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If San Diego Unified gets $8 million more in state funding than currently expected, the district will restore roughly 200 teaching jobs that were to be eliminated because of the state budget crisis.

But Superintendent Terry Grier is already working to reinstate 100 teaching jobs, whether or not the school district gets its additional $8 million.

Here’s what happened: The school board voted Friday to reinstate 200 jobs, contingent on that extra $8 million from the state. They’re restoring jobs — not people — so they won’t necessarily be the same teachers who are currently holding pink slips, trustee John de Beck said.

But that plan included a kicker. I overlooked it until Grier pointed it out: Grier can use any available San Diego Unified money “to prudently add other teaching positions in the coming months.”

That money is a cool $6.9 million that Grier said San Diego Unified could use to reinstate roughly 100 teaching jobs. And he doesn’t have to wait until the state Legislature gets around to passing its budget. The superintendent said he’ll begin working with principals today to add more teachers back to the school district.

That possibility wasn’t very clear at “a very bizarre meeting” of the school board Friday, said teachers union president Camille Zombro, who sent an e-mail to the superintendent asking a handful of clarifying questions to figure out what, exactly, the school board had approved.

Here’s the running tally on the teacher lay-off drama:

More than 900 teachers were warned of possible layoffs in March.

Nearly 300 teacher layoffs were canceled in mid-May when Grier recommending sparing counselors, high school English teachers and selected other employees.

More than 400 more teaching jobs were saved a few weeks later, after a revised budget was released by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Now, roughly 100 teaching jobs may be reinstated with that $6.9 million that Grier said was kicking around.

If Grier reinstates those jobs, that leaves about 100 positions to be cut — possibly more, if pink-slipped teachers don’t get the jobs that are reinstated at San Diego Unified, Zombro said.

And remember — this whole song and dance is thanks to the state budgeting process, and it doesn’t come without a cost.


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