What’s in the 2019-20 Budget: More Money for Teacher Salaries, Student Wellness, Safety and Enrichment Programs

Posted: Wednesday, June 26th 2019

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Trustees formally adopted the 2019-20 budget proposal and funding priorities this past Tuesday, setting in place a balanced fiscal plan for the next school year while increasing teacher pay.

The budget of more than $1.3 billion reflects strategies developed with stakeholders and partners for the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The budget plan defines how the district will prioritize funding in keeping with guiding principles outlined in the LCAP.

Here’s what San Diego Unified parents and staff can expect from the 2019-20 budget.

The district’s budget reflects programs that show a positive impact on student achievement, and focuses funding toward student wellness and safety. The 2019-20 budget includes a 3.7 percent salary increase for San Diego Unified teachers under a tentative contract agreement with the San Diego Education Association. The pay raise would push the top salary for teachers to above the $100,000 level for the first time. The contract agreement recognizes the high cost of living in the San Diego region, as well as the cost-of-living adjustment school districts could receive under the first budget from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“This pay increase will allow students to continue receiving the high-quality instruction our professional educators provide every day. At the same time, it will make it easier for our teachers to be able to live in the communities they serve, surrounded by the students they support,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “Even as districts across the state face increased budget pressure, I am proud of the fact that San Diego Unified has been able to maintain a collaborative relationship with those representing our professional educators, administrators, and support staff.”

As a continued commitment to attracting and retaining the San Diego region’s most qualified educators, the new budget also includes a $2,500 longevity stipend for teachers who have been at the top of the scale for six years or more.

The district’s effort to implement a balanced budget has drawn recognition from fiscal experts as well, earning a distinguished triple-A rating earlier this year from Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Kroll pointed to “the district’s strong tax base performance, strong legal protections for debt repayment and the district’s improved financial profile in the upgrade of the district’s long- term rating to triple-A from AA-plus.” 

In an article for The Bond Buyer, Kroll director Patricia McGuigan said the upgraded rating “reflects the district’s demonstrated expenditure control, elimination of a larger structural gap and improvement in reserves for future needs.”

In the 2019-20 budget, the district seeks to direct as much money possible to classroom enrichment programs, and visual and performing arts programs, while living within budgetary means as defined in its three-year budget plan. This includes hiring additional special education teachers in order to maintain the 20:1 student- to-teacher ratio, along with enhanced counseling resources at schools with concentrated services geared toward student wellness and mental health. 

Additionally, the adoption of the 2019-20 budget means there are no staff lay-offs, outside usual operating staff turn-around, and employee benefits will remain fully maintained. 

The district's 2019-20 budget must be submitted to the County Office of Education by July 1, 2019. Funding priorities for the 2019-20 budget are listed in the Board presentation which can be viewed online, and include:

  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Safety
  • Mental Health
  • Safe, Collaborative and Inclusive Environments
  • Vision 2020
  • Professional Development
  • K-3 Literacy
  • Elementary Enrichment
  • Language Immersion Programs
  • Student and Staff Wellness
  • High Quality Preschools

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