AM 760 KFMB - Talk Radio Station - San Diego, CA - District officials: No "magic pot of money" to save jobs

District officials: No "magic pot of money" to save jobs

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District said Friday there is no extra money for next year's budget despite claims by the teachers union that $66 million is available to save jobs.

At a news conference, Superintendent Bill Kowba said the district has reduced spending by $115 million for the next school year by laying off teachers and staff, imposing furloughs and cutting programs.

"Every dollar is earmarked to cover programs, people or the realities of change in the budget," Kowba said.

The San Diego Education Association reported earlier this week that the district is "sitting on" a reserve account of $88 million, $66 million more than the 2 percent in reserves required by the state. That's enough money to pay for 857 teachers, according to the association.

According to Kowba, that money is already factored into the budget.

Trustee Scott Barnett said, "The leadership of the teachers union gave false hope that there is a magic pot of money that will restore their jobs."

The school district has notified more than 1,000 employees -- teachers and staff -- that their jobs could be eliminated at the end of the current school year.

Kowba said layoffs are required to balance the budget because 91 percent of the district's expenses are for personnel.

"We cannot avoid the fact that we are a people-oriented profession," Kowba said. "Any use of these dollars to rescind layoff notices means we have to go find dollar-for-dollar cuts in the budget."

The final number of employees who lose their jobs won't be known until May, according to the superintendent.

The association has been holding rallies at schools to protest the layoffs, which they believe are unnecessary.

The Board of Education will meet Tuesday to discuss whether an unspecified number of teacher layoff notices can be recalled, and whether to eliminate the jobs of an additional 315 staff workers, on top of the more than 800 already on the chopping block.

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