Friday, March 14, 2008

School District Budget Slashing A Harbinger For Future Of Public Services

Since the Office of the Governor began spouting off bleak projections of California's state budget shortfall, currently estimated at $16 billion, trustees who preside over regional school boards in San Diego County have scrambled to deal with their consequential district deficits.

The analysis and subsequent action that each school board has chosen to take have been unique and telling of their commitment to the lives of workers and the students they serve. Members and staff of SEIU Local 221 have aggressively lobbied the trustees of each school board within our jurisdiction, including Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD), Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD), Poway Unified School District (PUSD), and the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD).

While the school boards governing FUHSD, SDCCD, and PUSD have employed a collaborative and transparent process in approaching their budget shortfalls, others have been less demonstrative of their commitment to equalize these imminent budget cuts. For example, the FUHSD voted unanimously to forego their stipend and health benefit expenses during the next few lean years in an effort to soften the brunt of cuts to classified and certificated employees. The SDCCD and PUSD have consistently engaged in good-faith discourse with our members, choosing to address their financial woes humanely and responsibly.

As examples of rational, non-political, and compassionate school boards continue to make headlines with their creative proposals about how to humanely address the largest cut to public education in California's history, it is our hope that our Board of Supervisors will emulate the exemplary governing bodies above when dealing with the County's budget shortfall.

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