San Diego Unified cuts $124 million from budget

Posted at 11:22 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 02:22:53-05

The futures of more than 800 people are on the line as San Diego Unified school board members voted unanimously Tuesday night to make $124 million dollars worth of cuts to its budget. Included in those cuts are the jobs of 150 special education teachers, custodians and Vice-Principals. 

Before the vote Tuesday evening, dozens of people voiced their opinions to school board members.

Lisa Neilson broke down with emotion talking about her son, Evan. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy is six and was born with a chromosomal abnormality. His mother said doctors didn't have much hope for him. But he's proven them wrong.

“He's learning to write his name," she said. "He's talking more, he's more social.”

Neilson credits his devoted special education teachers at Foster Elementary with his success. Tuesday night, all of that success was on the line as San Diego Unified school board members voted to cut $124 million dollars from its budget. On the chopping block are little Evan's special education teachers and the those at 36 other schools. The cuts will also force special needs children like Evan, to move to new schools.

During the school board meeting his mother broke down while addressing the board members.

“He has 68 more days because of your poor budget, adults budget mistakes," she said. 

Other parents were also angry and didn’t hold back.

“School sites are running on fumes," one mother said. "Our students in our schools should not suffer due to the district's mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.”

State law requires layoff notices be handed out by March 15 to anyone who could possibly be laid off. But none of this will be a done deal until June when Governor Brown releases his final budget.