Dear Community Members,
I am a parent and teacher of San Diego Unified students. I’m not sure if you have been following what’s been going on in our district, but basically after making huge cuts to our schools this year, the school board has voted to approve the Superintendent’s budget and make further cuts to our schools next year. My youngest two kids attend Boone Elementary School. Boone had to close their school library this year because they couldn’t afford a part time library tech in the tiny budget they were given. It turns out that the district had over $95 million in its general fund reserves. And Boone has been told to make more cuts again for next year. These cuts are dramatically reducing the quality and safety of school for all of our children. Our classroom teachers were spared this year, but our support staff was not. As I have called different schools this year, I have noticed that it is much more difficult to speak with a live person. Sometimes, no one even answers the phone. Not even when I call back. And this is during the school day. I’m not okay with that.
The district keeps saying that they don’t have the money and that the cuts are necessary. But this is what they say every year and every year they are later proven wrong. But more importantly, if you look around at the other districts in the county and compare them with SDUSD it becomes clear that SDUSD is the only district that struggles, decade after decade, to adequately staff its schools and pay its employees livable wages. SDUSD does NOT receive less money than other districts. We need tomake sure our tax dollars actually make it to our schools. Compare the salary schedules of our teachers with teachers in other districts and it becomes clear that the district’s budgeting priorities need to be reevaluated. The money is there, they just don’t want to have to actually spend it to staff our schools at a level that most Americans would consider to be the bare minimum. Low wages and poor treatment mean that many good teachers avoid applying for our district or they leave to work in other districts as soon as they can. Why stay with an employer that pays you 15%-20% less than other companies?
The Superintendent has budgeted millions of dollars to fund many valuable but costly district-level programs, departments, program managers, program administrators, and executive level positions with six-figure salaries. None of these are more important than adequately staffing our schools and paying our employees reasonable wages. None of these are more important than my children’s school being able to have a half-time library clerk so that kids can go to a library and check out books.
We can help stop these cuts by speaking up!
Contact the school board members and pressure them to change their vote and tell the Superintendent to budget for our schools first. Then he can see how much money he has for extra programs and administrators.
If we don’t speak up for the education of our children, who will?