The San Diego Unified School District board met in a “Special Meeting” on Tuesday, August 31 (click to boarddocs.com/ca/sandi/Board.nsf/Public for more info). Among other items on the agenda was a discussion that touched on a budget impasse that could affect students with disabilities in the upcoming school year.
The County Office of Education, as dictated by the State, wanted the budget to include cuts to disability programs. San Diego Unified’s board left in the measures that fund the disability programs, which resulted in a conflict with the County Office of Education.
Phil Stover, deputy superintendent of business operations for the district, said that a proposal, AB 184, is on the desk of Governor Schwarzenegger; his signature would ensure that the programs for disabled children stay in place and that the funds needed are at the district's disposal. Nine million dollars would have to be cut if the proposal is not signed. The bill has already been approved by the State’s assembly and senate.
If the governor decides not to authorize AB 184, the San Diego Unified board agreed to search for other options to avoid further cuts...such as Proposition S, a measure that reserves funding for schools in need; or, reworking interest-rate agreements on loans that the district has already taken out.
Boardmember Katherine Nakamura mentioned the possible negative implications for the district's credit rating and costs associated with district loans if they have to reach into their reserves.
The board debated and agreed that the district could reach into its reserves to come up with the funding if needed. No one proposed that the programs go without funding.