Friday, January 24, 2014

Budget process for 2014-15 "puts students and schools first"

Planning for the 2014-15 school year "reflects our collective vision" and is being shaped by a multi-disciplinary team, Superintendent Cindy Marten told the Board of Education when she presented her proposed 2014-15 budget on Jan. 21. The team approached the process, Marten explained, by reviewing the district’s vision for equity and excellence in all schools and classrooms rather than asking how much money is available and how much needs to be cut. The proposed budget puts the priorities squarely on students with improvements and enhancements to educational program, including:
  • Lowering class sizes for grades K-3;
  • Full restoration of the instructional school year to 180 days;
  • Improving school allocations that will make sure all schools are fully staffed and ready for students on the first day of school;
  • Closing the achievement gap by the end of first grade;
  • Investing in essential programs like Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), International Baccalaureate (IB), biliteracy programs, specialty arts programs, early literacy intervention and transitional kindergarten.
The Board of Education unanimously approved the superintendent's proposal.

"Our balanced budget proposal for 2014-15 puts students first with smaller class sizes, opening libraries, and supporting GATE, visual and performing arts, IB programs, graduation coaches and professional learning communities," said Board President Kevin Beiser. "The focus on reducing class size next year is great news for kids."

While budget challenges remain, the fiscal outlook is changing. San Diego Unified has a multi-year approach towards closing the deficit due to the scale of the recession of the past six years. San Diego Unified will work to implement the new budget model, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) with equity as a central tenet. Stakeholders will have more opportunity to give input at five forums the district will hold in February and March. The first forum is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Memorial Preparatory Middle School, 2850 Logan Ave. (92113).

Watch the video of the superintendent's board presentation.