Monday, November 30, 2009

Information about Dec. 3 Town Hall Budget Meeting

Dear Birney Parents,

I am writing to you as a fellow parent to urge you to join me in attending a very important meeting about budget cuts for San Diego City Schools. The meeting will be held on December 3 at 6:30 at San Diego High. The message from the District is clear: there are more drastic cuts than last year on the way, somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 million dollars' worth.

Parents, we need to make sure our voices are heard and our childrens' education is preserved by attending this meeting and demanding that any cuts made are thoughtful, fair and do not come at the expense of kids in the classroom.

Here are just some of the cuts being considered:
• Reducing kindergarten from full day to half day ($17.6 million)
• Eliminating all magnet programs and transportation for magnet children ($9.8 million)
• Eliminating all 9th -12th grade sports ($3.1 million)
• Eliminating all librarians ($4.9 million)
• Eliminating all visual and performing arts programs ($4.3 million)
• Reduce central office staff ($9.3 million)

In addition, cuts or changes which require negotiations with the Teacher's Union are:
• Eliminating double benefits when both spouses are district employees ($2.4 miliion)
• Increasing insurance co-payments from $5.00 to $20.00 ($14.94 million)
• Requiring district employees to pay the difference between Kaiser and Pacificare health insurance premiums (the District currently pays the entire amount of either premium and would continue to pay the Kaiser premium in its entirety) ($10.47 million)
• Increasing class size to 30 in kindergarten through 3rd grade ($14.2 million)
• Freeze authomatic "step and column" pay increases ($18.9 million)

While it is inevitable that cuts will have to be made, we as parents must make sure the District knows we expect all parties to share the pain. While we as parents may have to consider paying some amount for magnet bus transportation or extracurricular activities, district employees may also have to "do less with more" by eliminating central office staff or vice principal positions, and teachers may have to pay a larger but still reasonable health insurance co-payment and premiums and forgo pay increases.

Please join me at the December 3 meeting and make sure the District hears our concerns loud and clear.

Thank you,
Laura Allan-Dadmun

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