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During a December 9 meeting at the Mission Bay High School auditorium, Bill Kowba, interim superintendent for the SD Unified School District, addressed 2009/2010 budget cuts: “$183 million has been cut in the last two budget years. Eighty million to $100 million in cuts is needed to balance next year’s budget. By March, by code, we have to make decisions about layoffs.”

Teachers squirmed in their seats. District C board member John de Beck asked the audience, “How many of you came with an idea of a cut we should make?” About 20 people raised their hands. Next he asked, “How many have an idea that would negatively affect your children?” No one raised their hand. De Beck then said, “Everything we are going to do is going to hurt children.”

As if De Beck wasn’t unpopular enough by this point, he added, “I’m known for being brutally honest, so I have to tell you, I want to hear what you have to say...but by the time we are making a decision at a board meeting, it doesn’t matter what you are going to say because we already have our decisions made. Your input doesn’t mean it’s a referendum on my decision. When I go down there to push the button I’m considering what everyone says, but I can’t vote for cutting all these programs. I consider that cannibalism.... I have to do something where everyone takes the hit. I’d have to do pay cuts.”

Members of the audience yelled, “No!”

“My philosophy is to cut across the board. If I have to choose between cutting your kid’s favorite program, give vouchers, or cut salaries. I will make cuts across the board.”

For more information visit: sandi.net/Budget

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