SDUSD superintendent addresses budget shortfall in letter

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SAN DIEGO – San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten sent a letter to parents and families over the weekend, assuring them that the district will have a balanced budget next year, despite facing a large shortfall.

The letter was e-mailed Sunday night and alluded to a “host of solutions” that will be considered at Tuesday’s school board meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m. at district headquarters in Normal Heights.

“These range from offering early retirement to some of our longest serving staff members to cuts to our central office,” Marten said in the letter. “Every budget solution is aimed at eliminating our structural deficit and putting the district on sound financial footing into the future.”

“The shortfall is due to a variety of factors, including rising pension costs, labor market pressures and less than expected state support,” Marten said. “Despite these challenges, we will balance the school budget this year, as we have every year since I became Superintendent.”

The Tuesday agenda includes salary cuts for Marten and the board members, was well as possible layoffs of vice principals at elementary schools with fewer than 1,000 students.

Teacher layoffs also will be considered.

“Let me reassure you that funding is secure through the end of this academic year, and all budget reductions now being considered relate only to the school year that starts in the fall,” Marten said. “We have also committed that any budget solutions will not increase our core class sizes. We believe students learn best in small classes, and our class sizes are some of the lowest in the state.”

The proposed cuts will have their first reading at Tuesday’s meeting, with the board vote expected next week.