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Tonight, I’ll be heading over to the San Diego Unified School District’s board meeting. It starts at 5 p.m. and promises to be a long one. With all the talk of insolvency and school closings, the board’s got a lot to talk about.
You can view the agenda for the school board meeting here. I wanted to draw attention to three items:
The board will be getting a presentation from Ron Bennett, president and CEO of School Services of California. Bennett, whose company offers financial consulting to school districts, is a smart guy who knows a lot about how education funding is structured in California and what’s right and wrong with the system.
(You can view his presentation by going to the agenda, clicking on item C-3 on the left side and opening the PowerPoint.) He’ll be laying out what possible mid-year education cuts by the state could mean for San Diego, and what the County Office of Education or the state would do if the district went insolvent.
We already examined these issues in this explainer and this follow-up last week. It will be interesting to see if anything new comes out of Bennett’s presentation and how much the board talks about it.
The second thing that caught my eye on this evening’s docket is also budget-oriented.
District Chief Financial Officer Ron Little will be giving an update on various budget goals. (View Little’s presentation by clicking on Item I-3 and downloading the PowerPoint.)
Andrew Donohue and I sat down with Little yesterday and talked about some of the points he will be making tonight.
Little said San Diego Unified’s financial staff has been working on figuring out how it might weather the potential midyear cuts possibly coming in December.
Those numbers are really, really important right now.
The district already has to figure out how to slash almost $60 million out of next year’s budget, and if those midyear cuts happen, that figure almost doubles to $115 million. As we’ve reported, there are some ideas for how to deal with the initial deficit, ranging from selling land to closing schools, but there isn’t much of a plan if the deficit increases.
It will be interesting to see if the board sheds any more light on that tonight.
Lastly, the board meeting’s also likely to feature a lot of angry talk about possible school closings. We’ve been getting a lot of feedback about them, especially in the light of the early recommendations released last week.
We haven’t been covering the closings blow-by-blow because we’re focusing our resources on drilling down into the financial issues, and the closings have been getting plenty of media coverage in other outlets.
If you have any questions about it, though, you can be my boss tomorrow. Andrew Donohue and I will be the People’s Reporters, and will be taking your questions, tips and assignments for the day. Fire away: email@example.com or 619.550.5670.
I’ll be tweeting from the meeting. Look out for that coming from our @sdlivetweet account starting at 5 p.m. And look for a story later tonight.
Will Carless is an investigative reporter at voiceofsandiego.org. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5670.
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