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Schools Facing Painful Cuts

January 25, 1987

The decision of the San Diego school trustees last week to eliminate a program that provides intensified reading instruction for children who need it in their first years of schooling was just the first of what is likely to be a series of painful reductions in programs for the next school year.

Board members and administrators have said for some time that the 1987-88 fiscal year was going to be difficult. Supt. Thomas W. Payzant said he believed that the budget he submitted for $429 million, an increase over the current year of $2.5 million, would just about hold the line on the educational programs already in place. But that was before Gov. George Deukmejian presented a state budget that calls for considerably less spending for education than had been expected. Now Payzant believes the school board will have to trim as much as $10 million from his budget proposal, meaning a reduction of about $8 million from this year's level of spending.

Further complicating matters is that the district's contract with the San Diego Teachers Assn. expires this year. The superintendent's budget proposal assumes no salary increases for teachers, but the union's president has already said his members will not be satisfied with a contract that does not include a pay raise.

San Diego school officials can't help but feel frustrated over the situation, as there is little they can do to affect the district's revenues. The school board has gotten an early start on the budgeting process this year, and now faces numerous hearings during which parents, teachers and others will argue for retention of favored programs. Unfortunately, it looks like a long winter at the Education Center.

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