Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Message from Richard Barrera - Board of Education Vice President

On March 10th, the Board of Education took the required action to identify approximately $100 million in budget reductions for the 2009-10 school year. These actions were preliminary decisions that will be reviewed and finalized by the Board when we adopt a final budget in June. The Board is required by State law to adopt a balanced budget each year based on the available revenues we are given by the State of California. March budget actions met our legal requirement to report a financial plan to the County Office of Education that identified how the District will continue to manage our fiscal obligations.

Since making these preliminary budget cuts, the Board has heard from parents, teachers and others in our school communities with concerns about the dire budget situation and the cuts the state has made to K-12 education. All of these comments and suggestion are appreciated. We still have two more months until the district receives final funding allocations from the state that are needed to finalize our budget. That gives us all the opportunity to work together, parents, teachers and the Board, to fight for more school funding from the State of California.

The Obama Administration is sending stimulus money to California for education. It will not fill our $150 million budget deficit hole for the 2009-10 school year, but it may help mitigate some of the cuts. We are already looking at increased class sizes with fewer teachers and principals and less funds for transportation. In the worst case we could be looking at cuts to the arts, athletics and many other programs that we cherish.

Here are the problems:
  1. The State may try to hold up sending out the stimulus funds to local school districts because they are worried about the need to make more cuts to the state budget.
  2. San Diego Unified and other urban districts took a disproportionate hit in the last budget cuts and we need to make sure that we get our fair share of the federal stimulus money.
If you want to express your opinions about the cuts to educational funding, here are some options to consider:
  1. E-mail or call every legislator from the San Diego area and the Governor to tell them your concerns about cuts to education funding. We need a united San Diego delegation to pressure the Governor to release the money.

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Senator Christine Kehoe
    (916) 651-4039

    Senator Denise Ducheny
    (916) 651-4040

    Senator Dennis Hollingsworth
    (916) 651-4036

    Assemblymember Marty Block
    (916) 319-2078

    Assemblymember Lori Saldana
    (916) 319-2076

    Assemblymember Mary Salas
    (916) 319-2079

    Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher
    (916) 319-2075

    Assemblymember Joel Anderson
    (916) 319-2077

  2. Join a group of parents, teachers and concerned citizens to make a personal visit to a legislator’s office soon in San Diego.

  3. Sign a petition to support Stimulus Dollars for our schools. Visit to add your name.
Tell Sacramento:
  • Don’t hold up the stimulus money.
  • Our schools need the stimulus money now.
  • San Diego Unified got hit harder in the recent cuts than the average California school district. We want our fair share of the stimulus money.
  • The winning formula is for the state to allocate the stimulus dollars to schools with “50% to categoricals and 50% to revenue limits.”
Forward this email to your friends, so that we can take united action to Save Our Schools.

Thank you!
Richard Barrera
Board Vice President
San Diego Unified School District
Board of Education

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