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Statement: “The 130,000-student San Diego Unified School District has lost about 25% of its revenue in the past three years because of state budget cuts,” USA Today reported last week, citing district spokesman Bernie Rhinerson.
Analysis: Rhinerson got the math wrong and wasn’t specific enough.
San Diego Unified got $1.2 billion in revenue for its normal operating budget three years ago, according to the district’s unaudited estimate. It’s expecting to get about $1 billion this year, according to the district’s projections. That’s a 14 percent drop.
When asked about the statistic, Rhinerson said he was referring more broadly to the district budget, not just revenues. He didn’t have the numbers in front of him when USA Today interviewed him, but at the time he estimated off the top of his head that the current $1 billion budget is 23 percent less than the $1.3 billion budget three years ago.
The problem with that calculation is that the current budget isn’t $1 billion. It’s about $1.2 billion. So the calculation came out incorrect. The difference between that $1.3 billion and $1.2 billion is about 9 percent.
That isn’t to say the state budget cuts haven’t hammered the school district.
State revenues alone fell 22 percent from $364 million to a projected $284 million during that time, but the school district also gets money from the federal government and other sources such as local redevelopment funds.
— EMILY ALPERT