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School board votes to save half of teacher jobs slated for layoffs

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education voted 5-0 Thursday night to bring back nearly 500 teachers who had been facing possible layoffs.

Speakers packed a meeting to plead with board members to save the jobs of teachers who have been sitting in limbo since March, when the board sent preliminary layoff notices to 952 teachers.

The 485 teachers who will return to school this fall include the PE teachers at Birney Elementary School and Crawford High School and a music teacher at Pacific Beach Middle School.

The decision comes as the district officials grapple with balancing a $124 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. The deficit is blamed on declining enrollment and rising pension costs.

At one point, the district considered laying off another 180 support staff of mostly mental health workers and special education teachers, but those jobs were also saved.