The teachers union president calls the new budgeting in San Diego Unified, which allows schools more power over painful budget decisions, “a particularly insidious twist.”

The district is “using the budget to inspire panic and division among educators and parents,” Bill Freeman said.

In a letter last week to teachers, he wrote:

Under the democratic-sounding “site-based budgeting process,” educators and parents are being directed by the District to choose which jobs and programs to cut, placing [union] members in the position of determining which of our brothers and sisters to effectively toss out into the street.

Freeman later said teachers shouldn’t be put in the position of deciding which jobs to cut.

“They don’t see the bigger picture of the school oftentimes,” he said. But he didn’t say that the central offices should be deciding everything. School administrators should come up with the cuts and then give them to school committees of employees and parents to review, Freeman said.

Giving schools more power to cut themselves has been bittersweet, sometimes more bitter than sweet. Some principals say they’re glad that they and their communities, not district officials far from their schools, will decide what to cut.

We’ve decided to dive into how these hard decisions are made at a single school, Juarez Elementary. Meanwhile, what do you think? Is it a good idea to let schools decide what to cut? Please post your thoughts here on the blog.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter:

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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