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State Cuts $1B from Education, Medi-Cal, Social Services

California's mid-year cuts to education are seen as positive news by cash-strapped San Diego Unified School District

By R. Stickney and Rory Devine
|  Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011  |  Updated 9:28 PM PDT
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Point Loma Parents, Kids Rally to Fight Closures: Images

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State Cuts $1B from Education, Medi-Cal, Social Services

California's mid-year cuts are seen as positive news by cash-strapped San Diego Unified School District

School Board Debates What to Cut

The board is preparing for possible mid-year cuts of up to $30 million.
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California Governor Jerry Brown announced $1 billion in midyear cuts to schools and social services.

Brown said Tuesday that state revenues have fallen $2.2 billion below projections, triggering automatic mid-year reductions to public schools, universities and colleges, Medi-Cal, and in-home support for seniors and the disabled.

"It's a sad day for California," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said adding the cuts will make life harder for students.

“Mothballing school bus fleets across the state will mean many rural, disabled, and low-income students literally will have no safe way to get to school," Torlakson said in a written statement. "Children will lose child care, students will lose the opportunity for a college education, and our overcrowded classrooms will continue to be jammed with 35 to 40 students."

School districts around the state including, San Diego Unified School District, had been bracing for the announcement.

Watch our special series: SD Explained: Schools on the Brink

For SDUSD, a district facing insolvency based on early predictions, Tuesday actually brought good news.

Instead of facing $30 million in mid-year cuts, it will face $5 million.

There will be no layoffs at mid-year though the board will still look at eliminating some 15 positions in non-certificated jobs that are vacant.

“This is very positive news. Education is not going to face the Draconian mid-year cuts," said chief of staff Bernie Rhinerson.

"Still, we’re facing significant deficits for next school year that we’re continuing to try to resolve."

Next year's imminent budget deficit could be $65-$70 million.

SDUSD's board will wait to see the governor's Jan. 10 budget announcement to see what it means for the district Rhinerson said.

California Faculty Association President Lillian Taiz said the time has come for the state to get its fiscal house in order.

"We welcome serious efforts finally to address our state's problems with revenues," Taiz said in a written statement. "As a state we must pay for the institutions and programs that make California great." 

 

San Diego's school board will vote on a plan to handle the mid-year cuts Tuesday night. Members must submit a worst-case scenario budget to the county office of education by Dec. 15.

Automatic mid-year reductions to public schools, universities and colleges, Medi-Cal, and in-home support for seniors and the disabled take effect Jan. 1.

What are you willing to give for California to solve its financial woes - see more spending cuts or pay higher taxes? Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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