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Teachers face difficult last day of school amidst layoffs, budget decisions

Final budget reading is on June 27
Posted at 11:31 PM, Jun 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 02:32:42-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- It will be a difficult last day of school Wednesday for San Diego Unified teachers facing layoffs.

According to the district, nearly 400 teachers received pink slips earlier this year;  that's down from roughly a 1,000 when the district first announced the cuts.  District leaders expect that number to drop to 150 or 200 by the end of the year.

During Tuesday night's school board meeting, several teachers blasted the board for its spending priorities. 

"A few days after receiving my final evaluation to become a tenured teacher within this district, I received my pink slip. Since then it has created pandemonium and panic within my classroom environment. How can I create a safe environment for students when I do not feel safe myself," said Amy Jorgesen.

Jorgesen is a first grade teacher at Paradise Hills Elementary School. Tuesday night, she said she has hope it won't be a final goodbye.

"I'll send them with my love tomorrow and I'll have faith and hope that I'll be recalled and I'll get to see them again," said Jorgesen.

The district says the $1.3 billion budget is designed to help students continue achieving the highest graduation rates and lowest dropout rates of any big city school system in the state. 

According to a press release, the budget is balanced, virtually eliminating a structural deficit that has hindered financial progress for years.

As more people accept early retirement, more teachers will be called back, but many say they can't afford to wait.

"We won't stick around for much longer to wait this out with you. Effective teachers are leaving your district every day," said Jorgesen.

Jorgesen has only been with the district two years. She says she'd love to stay in San Diego.

"I've invested a lot of time and effort into my current school site and I'd like to stay with it, but I also know that I have leadership skills and I have passion and I need to be teaching children," said Jorgesen.

The school board's final reading of the budget will be June 27.