Standing in front of dozens of students at Perkins Elementary in Logan Heights on February 25, San Diego Unified School Board President Richard Barrera called on city council and the Centre City Development Corporation to give San Diego Unified $64 million in future tax increment dollars to reduce the district's $120 million deficit.
Barrera's announcement comes days before a March 1 city council meeting when it will be decided whether to approve $14 billion in redevelopment projects, $2.5 billion worth of which are slated for the downtown.
"The project list contains more than $157 million for new parking garages. The garages might have to wait. It seems like a pretty clear choice," Barrera said. "I'm sure many are important projects, but none can stand up to the investment in these students."
San Diego Unified entered into a tax-sharing agreement with CCDC in 1992. In 2013, that tax allocation will increase from 4 percent — approximately $5 million per year — to 13.6 percent — $15–20 million annually. The $64 million is the anticipated revenues for fiscal years 2017 to 2020 and will be used to prevent increasing class sizes and widespread layoffs to nurses, counselors, and teachers.
"It is only appropriate that during these dire economic times that we accelerate these payments," said State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, one of the key players in increasing the tax increment for downtown development last August.
"I knew that by lifting the [redevelopment tax increment] cap, by providing more money for redevelopment, that it would also bring more money to schools," said Assemblyman Fletcher.