The financial standing of Sweetwater Union High School District continues to be in absolute shambles after the latest board meeting. The district is now projected to remove $26 million from next year’s budget just to break even. Moreover, the district anticipates having zero reserves allotted for any economic disasters and to end with a negative balance of $5.2 million out of their overall $493 million budget.
Since June of this year, Sweetwater has been in hot water. The district initially claimed it would be short of their break-even point for next year by $9 million. However, after thorough analysis revealed multiple discrepancies in the finances, the district was actually short $26 million.
The San Diego County Office of Education later discovered that Sweetwater had been lying about its financial standings for years. Consequently, the state is now possibly charging Sweetwater with financial fraud. Moreover, the discrepancies also revealed the district did not account for $6 million worth of payroll, ultimately extending their budget further.
The district claims that via new budget solutions from the governor in January, the reserves will be replenished and the district will end with a positive balance next fiscal year. However, given the prior history of the district, San Diego citizens fail to see any credibility in their efforts. We have seen the pathetic and miserable attempts to resolve the financial problems of the district—only to see no positive change and a further decline of the district. To add insult to injury, Sweetwater continues to lose students left and right.
Based on their financial mismanagement, there is little hope for Sweetwater. The financial behavior from the district is completely appalling and shameful. Moreover, it is an embarrassing disgrace to students, parents, and taxpayers who are forced to continually fund union interests at the expense of students and teachers.
Once again, the prioritization of teacher’s unions over the educational needs of students has caused severe damage to San Diegans and to California education as a whole.