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Yet more bad news for San Diego Unified leaders as they try to patch together a budget today: California plans to delay more than $58 million in funding from this school year to next, prompting the school district to borrow money to cover its costs.

And nobody is going to let the school district borrow it for free.

Delayed payments from California are nothing new for schools as the state budget has been squeezed. School districts have borrowed money to tide themselves over until their state money arrives.

But the sheer amount of delayed money has grown much larger. And borrowing the money could get even more costly if credit rating agencies sock San Diego Unified with a lower rating. School district staff say that is possible because it’s finishing each year with less and less money in the bank.

San Diego Unified was already expecting to pay $4 million in interest to borrow money this summer. It now believes it will have to pay between $1 million to $8.5 million more in interest that it hadn’t budgeted for to borrow money the state is supposed to give it.

The school board meets tonight to go over options for slashing its budget, which range from cutting classes that help teens pass the high school exit exam to eliminating half of its vice principals. It must complete a budget for next school year by the end of June.

— EMILY ALPERT

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