San Diego Unified Launches First-Ever Community Budget Survey

Posted: Friday, January 12th 2018

Dear San Diego Unified School District Parents

As an important partner in our work to help all San Diego students succeed, we are writing to seek your input on our current budget for the coming school year. Please take a few minutes to help us more fully understand your education priorities by completing this first-ever community budget survey from San Diego Unified. Your input will be combined with the advice we receive from teachers, principals, elected staff representatives, as well as the public input we receive through the year-round Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process.

 Your input is especially important at this time, as we confront a budget shortfall -- not for the current school year, but for the one beginning in the fall. Rising healthcare costs, increased pension payments, utility costs and other factors beyond our control mean schools would require another $59 million in increased funding simply to maintain our current levels of support. The following chart outlines this situation.

Yesterday, Governor Brown released his preliminary budget proposal, which we continue to analyze. Despite solid progress on education funding, our preliminary review suggests state funding for San Diego students will fall short of the $59 million required. This continues an unfortunate pattern of California failing to fully fund its schools, and the last reliable projections show our state ranks 46th of 50 in per pupil education spending (cite).

San Diego Unified is committed to serving all our students while living within our financial means. Last year, we achieved $124 million in budget savings -- largely through cuts to our central office and a systemwide reorganization. Independent auditors and outside ratings agencies have recognized the district’s spending discipline. Our high credit ratings have resulted in an additional savings to taxpayers of more than $100 million over the life of the bonds.

Last month, The Board of Education voted to consider additional financial measures to balance our budget. In this survey, we are asking thousands of San Diegans to share your perspective on which services we currently provide that should be considered for cost savings. For each listed service, we ask you to indicate your preferences on programs that may need to be reduced or eliminated.

Please note, this survey is not a vote; we are seeking input and understanding -- not a popularity contest. The survey data will be used in tandem with all other input mechanisms to make the best possible decisions for students. Finally, items listed as “Mandated” are services or programs that are required based on federal, state, or local regulations or laws.

Thank you again for your participation and for your commitment to the children we all serve. Together, we can continue improving the lives of our students - and our entire city.


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