The new school year began Tuesday for about 120,000 children who attend San Diego Unified School District campuses.
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The district recently struck a deal with the San Diego Education Association to retain around 1,500 instructors in exchange for salary concessions.
"We have a balanced budget for the year, and the reason we have a balanced budget is because our teachers and others have made a sacrifice -- they've compromised and we have a full staff working and ready to go," John Lee Evans, president of the Board of Education, told 10News.
Evans said, "We're really excited going into today because, for one thing, we have all of our teachers back
so the kids have all their teachers, their full schedule and reasonable class sizes, too."
"We really need to raise the funding for education in California. We rank about 47th in the country, and that's just not acceptable
we really want to have the teachers there in the classroom. They're what's making the difference and they're the reason that our test scores have consistently been going up for the past four or five years," Evans added.
Serra High School English teacher Hiedi Hall told 10News, "I'm just happy to be back and be back at my school with my kids and start a new year
you get into teaching because you love what you do, and you want to make a difference in the world, and you want to leave your mark."
The first day of the school year also brought a new site for requests for documentation for those who want to take advantage of President Barack Obama's "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program. Prospective applicants under DACA will be directed to the Ballard Parent Center at 2375 Congress St. in Old Town.
The program allows undocumented immigrants up to the age of 31 who came to the United States with their parents to defer deportation for two years under certain conditions. Among the records required of applicants is proof of school attendance.
SDUSD spokeswoman Linda Zintz said records of current or recent students are accessible via computer, but documents of older applicants may me available in the form of paper documents stored in a warehouse. That could cause delays, she said.
Applicants will need to bring to the new center an original birth certificate and photo identification and know which school they attended and when. There is no charge for the service, which will be conducted by Spanish-speaking staff. The location will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays.
Later Tuesday, the Board of Education will hold its first meeting of the semester. The agenda includes a resolution to prohibit the use of capital appreciation bonds -- the type that caused an uproar in the Poway Unified School District because of stiff repayment requirements -- in future SDUSD bond issues. The district has a construction bond measure set for the November election.
Another proposed resolution would declare Sept. 11 a day of remembrance and instruct teachers to develop lesson plans about the response of authorities and citizens to the terrorist attacks.
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