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Oh, what a difference a few days makes: The estimates for how much money it will cost to change school budgeting have dropped from $25 million to $12 million from the general fund. It was originally expected to cost nearly $30 million from the general fund.

School board member Katherine Nakamura was concerned about the cost and worried that the new plan, which reduces the power for principals to pick what jobs to keep and which to lose, could be “a cookie-cutter approach” to funding schools.

Chief Finance Officer James Masias, who shared the updated estimate at a meeting this morning, said the costs have been re-estimated lower because San Diego Unified is finding ways to use restricted money — dollars that come with strings attached by the state — to fund the employees at school sites.

EMILY ALPERT

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