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‘Save Our Schools:’ Sacramento City Unified Faces Potential State Takeover

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SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento City Unified School District is facing a possible state takeover if the district doesn’t find a way to balance a $35 million deficit.

Labor leaders held a press conference Thursday urging the district to find a responsible way to balance the budget.

Union representatives, parents and community leaders filled the Sacramento City Unified board room, many holding signs saying "No State Takeover."

"We need to come together and work on the best interest of 42,000 students," said Rich Owens with United Professional Employees.

SCUSD now faces a June deadline for significant spending cuts to be made.

The state's Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team projects the district will run out of money by November, eventually leading to a state takeover.

"We're going to have to probably increase class size. After-school programs and other very important programs for kids will be lost," Owens said.

Just last month, the district's board voted to approve staffing cuts, as well as reduce early childhood programs.

Many inside the board room Thursday wanted to clear that budget further and were urging all of the labor unions involved to negotiate adopting less expensive health care premiums.

"We believe we can offer the same health care with no reduction in benefits for a significantly reduced cost if we all join together and join one pool," Owens said.

The change in health care costs to union workers is something the Sacramento City Teachers Association president says has already been discussed.

"We already have an agreement with the district," said David Fisher with SCTA. "This is something they failed to mention to achieve health care savings."

Fisher says so far teachers have received the brunt of the cuts voted on within the district.

"All we’ve seen are projected cuts to teachers," Fisher said. "They are projected to lay off 150 teachers. At this point, we have seen no plans to make cuts at the district office or for upper-level administration."

While all agree a state takeover could possibly have far-reaching impacts on the city’s economic growth, all involved are now focused on trying to work together to prevent a takeover.

"The more immediate issue is how do we stay open for business," Owens said.

Thursday night, Sacramento City Unified Board of Education voted to cut 30 administrative positions.

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