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Sweetwater Union High School District approves interim budget with $26 million shortfall

Posted at 1:04 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 16:12:14-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- The Sweetwater Union High School District announced Monday that it is moving forward with an interim budget with a shortfall that could possibly lead to potential cuts.

During a Monday evening meeting, the district’s school board approved an interim budget for the 2020-21 school year that noted a $26 million shortfall.

The San Diego County Office of Education said for school year 2020-21, the district was $16 million in the red and needed to make up an additional $10 million to restore its required reserve.

At the meeting, the district’s chief financial officer cited Sweetwater’s declining enrollment as one of the factors for the decrease in funding for the district. The CFO did not offer any specific areas that would face cuts.

RELATED: County Office of Education offers $12M loan to Sweetwater District

The district is continuing to discuss budget options with all of its schools, with one option to not fill any current open positions within the district.

Another possible plan would have a two-day furlough implemented for teachers, but 10News learned the teachers’ union was still looking into the proposal.

In recent years, Sweetwater has had to make cuts in different areas to make up for its large budget deficit.

Last year, 300 teachers took early retirement. Earlier this year, the district made cuts to its bus program by removing several bus routes -- a move that led to outcry and protest from parents and students over safety.

RELATED: Report: Sweetwater Union High School District incorrectly reported debt

Some parents said they’ve heard rumors about where other cuts will come from.

“No one-to-one technology for our high school students, furlough days, involuntary transfers, no summer school for middle schools, additional site budget cuts …,” one parent said.

District officials said this interim budget could change before a final budget is presented.

According to officials, Sweetwater won’t know how much funding they will receive from the state until Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget is released in January.

The district is continuing to make its budget decisions as it is being investigated for possible financial fraud.