SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Unified School District budget for the next fiscal year will suffer cuts even if Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposals are passed by voters, according to a presentation given to the Board of Education Tuesday.
"The superintendent is the bearer of reality," said Board President John Lee Evans. "The real news that is happening, which is we have to fill $124 million budget deficit for next year."
The governor wants increased income taxes for those making more than $250,000 annually and a half-cent raise in the state sales tax. If voters approve the proposals in November, the state would continue to fund local schools at this year's level, but San Diego Unified's chief financial officer said increasing expenditures, such as utilities costs, would still result in deficit spending.
"We have ongoing costs that continue to increase year after year,'' Ron Little said. "While flat funding may be good in other industries, in this one it certainly isn't. It doesn't keep up with the costs of doing business.''
Brown has also proposed eliminating state funding for school transportation, which could force San Diego Unified to cut bus service to about 2,700 students next year, Deputy Superintendent Phil Stover said.
If the tax increases are rejected or do not reach the ballot, California schools stand to lose about $2.4 billion mid-year, or $370 per student per day, Little said.
SDUSD could then face a budget shortfall of about $122 million next year, he said
District financial staff have identified possible solutions that could cut about $124 million from the $1.057 billion operating budget, including selling off property, raising class sizes and layoffs for more than 1,100 employees.
Funding for the visual and performing arts program could be reduced by 50 percent, and the school police force could be reduced by 15 percent.
"We're talking about a huge magnitude of cuts,'' said Evans. "There's no way to make these cuts without doing really horrible things to our schools.''
Board Vice President Scott Barnett said he would like to see the teacher's union step forward.
"The entire board has called for concessions," said Barnett. "The concessions I'm calling for is across the board salary reduction. Progressive scale as low as 1%, as high as 12% and that alone would save 60 million dollars but not lay off employees."