San Diego Unified now estimates that if California legislators override a state law that guarantees minimum education funding, as schools now feared, it would face another $35 million to $55 million in cuts on top of its estimated $120 million deficit.
The school district has already laid the groundwork to bloat elementary class sizes to more than 29 students per teacher by laying off more than 1,000 educators, gut arts and magnet programs, thin its bus routes and make a slew of other cuts. This would be worse. Chief Financial Officer Ron Little wrote in a memo to the school board that if cuts need to go deeper, San Diego Unified could seek more concessions from its labor unions and other staff, try to close small schools or sell extra property.
Even if it made all those cuts, Little wrote, it wouldn’t be out of the woods. San Diego Unified would still face more cuts for the year after, now estimated at least $65 million.
The multi-million-dollar question is whether California lawmakers will, in fact, suspend the state law that sets minimum funding for schools or not. Check out this fact sheet from EdSource about that law, Proposition 98, and how it shapes school funding.