San Diego Unified last week restored hundreds of jobs for teachers after state lawmakers patched together a budget that gave schools more money than they were expecting.
But even as San Diego Unified restores jobs, it faces continued uncertainty over its budget. The California budget depends on optimistic projections for state revenue. If California gets much less money than it had hoped for, it could trigger school cuts in the middle of the school year.
It has already gotten some bad news. May and June revenues have already fallen short of what California had budgeted for, the Sacramento Bee reported earlier this week. California took in $352 million less than lawmakers had hoped for — $849 million instead of $1.2 billion.
San Diego Unified estimates $25.5 million in abrupt cuts if state revenues end up falling far short of what was projected. School board member Kevin Beiser emphasized that will only happen if state revenues are dramatically lower than estimated. If they come in somewhat lower, schools are still spared, Beiser pointed out.
San Diego Unified couldn’t just oust the teachers it just rehired: Schools can’t jettison teachers in the middle of the school year. So schools would have to find cuts somewhere else.
One idea that the state has floated is shortening the school year even more. But trimming the year only saves money if you trim worker salaries. Labor unions would have to agree to do that.