SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) Superintendent Jorge Aguilar spoke exclusively with ABC10 about his plan to close a $34 million budget hole and avoid a state takeover.

Superintendent Aguilar: There is nobody who has gone through this process of being taken over by the state who could tell us, or has told us, 'Give it a shot. It'll be ok.' No one. Not one person has said it would be a good strategy to take. 

That is not the approach that I'm taking as superintendent. It's not the approach that I would support as a parent of children in this school district, and it's absolutely not the approach that I would tolerate as a Sacramentan or as a homeowner. Who would want to live in a city whose school district has been taken over?

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ABC10: You're saying that we will avoid a state takeover?

Superintendent Aguilar: I'm saying that I'm very confident, and it goes above hope. Because the solution is there.

ABC10: You're very confident that?

Superintendent Aguilar: That we will get every single stakeholder that needs to be part of the solution to come to the table and that we can make the solution come to life to avoid a state takeover. Absolutely. The solution is there. 

As simply as I can describe is that, for every $1 that we get in revenue from the state and from the federal government to provide services to our youth, 91 cents out of every one of those dollars immediately goes to benefits and salaries.

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ABC10: So, Mr. Superintendent, what do you need? If people are saying we want to work with you. We want to negotiate. What do you need to make this thing work?

Superintendent Aguilar: We need to change that basic principle. We need more than 9 cents on every dollar so that we're not taken over by the state. We have to reign in the cost of healthcare. We provide health benefits to our employees where the benefits for one employee is costing us almost $35,000 per year. The average in Sacramento for every other school district is more like $17,000 or $16,000. So that's one of the conditions that we have to change, Chris. We have to accept that that is a reality that we can change."

Continue the conversation with Chris Thomas on Facebook.

COMMUNITY BUDGET WORKSHOPS 

Beginning on Monday, May 20 the school district and board of education will host community budget workshops to help the community better understand the situation. At the workshops listed below, the district will share its plan for balancing the budget long-term father feedback from parents and the community. 

  • Monday, May 20: 6 p.m. at Hiram Johnson High School 
  • Tuesday, May 21: 6 p.m. at California Middle School 
  • Thursday, May 23: 6 p.m. at Luther Burbank High School 
  • Thursday, May 30: 6 p.m. at Einstein Middle School 

For the current status of the budget situation, the district asks that community members download the Third Interim Report PowerPoint presented to the Board of Education on May 16. They also have a document with answers to frequently asked questions about the Third Interim Report. For more information, visit the budget updates page

ONE MORE FROM ABC10: Sacramento parents passionate about keeping school district from a state takeover

Sacramento parents are trying to keep the Sacramento City Unified School District from a state takeover. Parents United to Restore Our Schools is bringing people together to find a solution.