The San Diego School Board will meet in special session
on Tuesday 5:00 P.M. August 31st to discuss
this letter from the County Superintendent of
Schools, Randolph Ward. The letter imposed a September 8, 2010
deadline for the District to adopt a revised budget that
will be acceptable to the County Superintendent. In the
meantime the District is operating at the pleasure of
the Superintendent. He has the power to declare the
District to be "not a going concern" at any time.
The County Superintendent has set a further deadline of October
8, 2010 when he will determine whether to
finally approve or disapprove the District's amended
budget for fiscal year 2010/11. The District has already
identified budget reductions of $104.3 including cutting
31.5 certificated full-time employees (FTE) and 81.5
classified FTE, but that will not be enough.
In addition to further payroll and benefit cuts, he is
requiring that the District "makes progress" in meeting
the state minimum reserve requirements of 2%. The District's
current budget for 2010/11 would have a reserve of only
0.44%. A 2% reserve would pay one week's salaries, while
0.44% would pay for one day. This is unacceptable to
credit agencies and to the State.
Much has been made of the State's failure to timely pass
funding legislation for Special Disabilities
expenditure, but it is a diversion. It does not begin to explain
the budget crisis. Even if the State quickly corrects
the issue it would be a mere $9 million in the 2010/11
Here is the original 2010/11
Budget adopted by the School Board on June 29, 2010
and submitted to the County Superintendent of Schools.
graph shows the component parts of the $1.166
Billion General Fund.
This shows the real cause of the crisis. I have
graphed the numbers for clarity:
Salary and Benefits as a
Percentage of Total General Fund
Salary and benefits are over 90% of the
School District costs and growing!
There are two main types of school employees, teachers
and support staff. Teachers belong to the San Diego
Education Association (SDEA)
and are called "Certificated" while most non-teaching staff
belong to the California School Employees Association (CSEA)
and are called "Classifieds".
Here is the School District's June 15, 2010
Presentation to Moody's Investment Service in
connection with its Proposition S bond issue.
Page 10 shows that the District has 8,027
Certificated employees and 8,020 Classified employees
for a total 16,047.
shows the enrollment from 1991 to 2010. For 2010 the
District has estimated 132,370 students.
Dividing the $1.166 Billion General Fund by the number
of students we get $8,805 per student. Salaries and
benefits is $7,930 per student with only $875 for
everything else. The average salary and benefits per
certificated employee is $95,680 and the average per
classified employee is $35,121. There are 16.63 students
per certificated employee and 16.67 students per
classified employee with 8.25 students per employee
As you can see, 66% of the General Fund expenditure is
for members of the 8,000 SDEA,
the teachers union. This core expense is at the heart of
the budget crisis. This
graph illustrates it very clearly. The half billion
dollar SDEA salary cost is the elephant in the living
room. Now look at this
graph showing the recent history of the District's
expenses. It shows a wild increase, mostly teacher
salaries, in 2006 and 2007, at a time when enrollment
numbers were actually declining.
2010 teacher salaries, the biggest component of the
District's budget, must be brought back to at least 2005
levels. The 2010 enrollment numbers are actually lower
than 2005. At the very least the District must reverse
its 2006 and 2007 expense buildup when money was
The School's 2006/2007 salary binge is very reminiscent
of the City's 2002 pension binge. Both were the result
of unions having gained control of voting bodies. Now
they both want the taxpayer to bail them out. I hope
these graphs and figures help people understand what is
really going on. It is much more than a Special
Disabilities issue that Marty Block will fix and
everything will be alright.
It will be an historic School Board meeting on Tuesday
5:00 P.M. August 31st, similar to that fateful City
Council meeting on November 18, 2002. Let's hope the
unions and School Board do not repeat the City's
disastrous pension mistake. It may be too late for the
City but it is not too late for the School District. The
future viability of the San Diego School District
together with several political careers will be decided