Statement: “This School Board has eliminated almost 1,500 classroom teachers since 2006, increasing class size, and plans to cut hundreds next year. This while they squander precious funds remodeling the CFO’s office and other wasteful spending,” a campaign flyer for school board candidate Scott Barnett says.
Determination: Barely True
Analysis: Barnett is correct that the school board has eliminated almost 1,500 classroom teachers. Since 2006, the number of budgeted positions for teachers has fallen by 1,478 to 4,969. Class sizes have also been increased in recent years due to budget cuts.
And Barnett is also correct that the school district spent $1,964 in January to soundproof the office for former Chief Financial Officer James Masias. The district says it added sound panels since its central offices have “thin partition walls” and it wanted to prevent distractions.
So separately, each half of this statement is true. But when Barnett ties the two together, there’s a problem.
The campaign flyer implies that money used to soundproof the office could have paid for more teachers, and that’s not accurate. The money that San Diego Unified used to pay for soundproofing came from capital funds, a part of the school district budget that can’t be used to pay for teacher salaries.
Since Barnett’s statement is factually accurate, but comes with a significant factual caveat about its implications, we’ve called it barely true.
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— EMILY ALPERT