Walter Mencken 9 a.m., May 23
San Diego Unified Board Member Scott Barnett Releases His "Plan to Save Our Schools"
Scott Barnett, San Diego Unified School District board member, is calling for a ten-percent pay cut, reforms to health care policy, and holding off on raises as ways to solve the school district's current budget crisis, preventing insolvency.
Barnett released his "Plan To Save Our Schools" during a press conference at district headquarters.
The plan, according to Barnett, would save the district $92 million. In addition to deferring pay raises, the plan calls for cutting pay according to earnings, That means school officials and administrators making over $150,000 would sacrifice more of their pay than those earning less. Employees making $18,000 or less would not be impacted by the plan.
The payroll cuts would get rolled back in November 2012, if voters approve a proposed parcel tax that Barnett will propose to his colleagues on the board.
In addition, Barnett is asking that the board and unions change the district's policy on health care by not allowing employees and their dependents to choose different plans without having to pay additional premiums. Under his plan, employees would be entitled to free health care with Kaiser but would be required to pay for other health care providers.
"Eliminating $21 million in raises, and implementing $60 million pay cuts, and saving $12 million in health care costs, will require our public employee unions to approve this plan by end of year," stated Barnett. "If this plan is not in place and mid year cuts are triggered, then it may be too late to avoid intervention by the state."
"I know this plan to save our school district places a terrible burden on our teachers and other employees. But the pay cut must be agree to be implemented starting July 2012 in order to balance our budget and get the necessary short-term loans to meet our approximately $80 million a month payroll and other costs," said Barnett.
Support from the other school board members may be hard to come by. Hours before Barnett unveiled his plan, fellow board member John Lee Evans asked that the board look into more comprehensive ways to solve the budget crisis before any payroll cuts are made.
“If we have midyear cuts, insolvency is a real threat. We cannot dismiss a first grader’s teacher in the middle of the year. We cannot cancel courses for seniors just before they graduate. The midyear problem can only be resolved at the state level.”
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