Budget Blunders, Housing Policy Propositions, Dubious Debates and more: San Diego Summarized | 10-1-18
We kick off this week’s summary with a look at the revelation that Sweetwater Unified School District’s budget blunder that missed a number of line items in the budget for the current fiscal year, requiring the second largest school district in San Diego County to make some immediate and very difficult decisions.
According to documents obtained by Voice of San Diego, Sweetwater miscalculated its budget for the current school year by more than $30 million, at least in part because of recent raises it failed to fully account for. The district now has several weeks to cut millions from this school year’s costs or face the prospect of a fiscal adviser taking control of its books.
Usually when school districts are staring down major cuts, they’re for the following school year. That’s what makes Sweetwater’s situation so unusual: Officials will have to make cuts for the school year that’s in progress now.
How did this happen?
“The single biggest mistake came in projected salaries for certificated staff, which includes teachers, for the 2017-18 school year,” Huntsberry writes. “The district spent $182 million – roughly $9 million more than it previously budgeted – for certificated staff. The district also overspent by roughly $7 million on classified salaries and employee benefits combined. District employees previously negotiated a 3.75 percent raise in 2017 that significantly increased salary costs during the last school year.”
Back in September, a bipartisan group of San Diego’s state and local leaders came together to endorse Prop. 1, an affordable housing bond that is one of the least controversial measures on the statewide ballot.
Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assemblyman Todd Gloria, two lawmakers who’ve focused on housing issues throughout their career, were part of the group.
But when it comes to a far more divisive attempt to rein in housing costs – Prop. 10, which would allow local governments to institute rent control measures – neither lawmaker is willing to take a stand.
“Affordable housing is a critical issue that we are grappling with in California and is something that I care deeply about. That is why the Legislature passed a package of 15 housing bills last year that included a healthy mix of funding to create affordable housing opportunities and regulatory reform to spur new, smart housing growth,” Atkins told VoSD’s Sara Libby in a statement.
“The November ballot also includes Prop. 10, which would allow local governments to adopt rent-control ordinances – in essence, regulating how much landlords can charge tenants for renting an apartment or house. I have taken no position on Prop. 10 and encourage all Californians to read their county voter guide carefully so they may make an informed decision on this proposition.” (Emphasis Libby’s.)
Atkins has said in the past that she generally opposes rent control. But when a fellow lawmaker introduced a rent control measure, she similarly declined to state a clear position: “I have not traditionally supported rent control,” Atkins told the Sacramento Bee early this year. “That being said, there’s a big difference between a reasonable 3 to 4 percent increase versus the 30 to 40 percent increases we’re seeing.”
Gloria, too, declined to wade into the debate.
“At this point, Todd is neutral,” Gloria’s spokesman Nick Serrano told Libby in an email.
The YIMBY Democrats of San Diego County have discussed both Prop 1 and Prop 10 in recent meetings and while the club has endorsed Prop 1, it has also remained neutral to date on Prop 10.
Prop 1 and 10 will both be up for discussion this weekend at Politifest, the Voice of San Diego’s marquee event on October 6th. Proceedings begin at 12:00 and feature confirmed sessions on the following topics:
SoccerCity, SDSU West or None of the Above, a Debate
The Ballot Measures, Explained
Mayors in the Middle
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum
The Future of California
Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Riverside)
Assemblywoma Shirley Weber (D- San Diego)
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)
Town Hall: Life, Undocumented, in the Trump Era
Presented by HuffPost
Rent Control: Can It Do What the Market Can't?
Prop. 10 debate presented by CalMatters
Exit Interview With Assemblyman Rocky Chavez
Presented by CalMatters
Interview With Mike Levin, Democrat, Candidate for 49th Congressional District
Live Podcast: The Future of the City
Scott, Sara and Andy with special guests
Community Led Panels
Expect the SoccerCity vs SDSU West debate to be one of the more contentious panels, with just 5 weeks to go until the November election, the pressure to persuade voters has never been higher for proponents of the plans to redevelop the Mission Valley stadium site.
The Live Podcast also promises to be well.. lively. It is not a 2020 mayoral debate, but the podcast panel includes Rep. Scott Peters, Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Councilman Chris Cate.
This year, Politifest will be co-hosted by the University of San Diego Visit politifest.org for more information.