For the third year in a row, the Glendora Unified School District school board unanimously approved teacher layoffs, eliminating an estimated 30 teaching positions Tuesday in anticipation of up to $2.5 million in budget cuts.
K-6 multiple subject classroom teaching positions and certificate teaching positions in areas such as English, math, music, physical education, AVID, reading and/or math intervention, social sciences and adult education will be reduced or discontinued by the end of the year.
Dominic Digrazia, district director of personnel, said the number of layoffs is “realistic to the amount we will need to save for next year.”
According to district officials, the layoffs were recommended by the Los Angeles County Office of Education in an effort to stay fiscally solvent. But board members did not accept the resolution wholeheartedly.
“This is certainly not fair for those teachers, it’s not deserved for those teachers and this is certainly not how we want to treat our teachers,” said school board member Chuck Gomer. “We have to do it from a financial point of view and we have to do it by a certain date, and I understand all of that, but this is not how you treat professionals.”
Digrazia said teachers with the least seniority in the areas outlined in the resolution will be subject to receive a layoff notice. However, reducing staff without affecting the level of service and education for students has been a challenge for the district.
Digrazia estimated that the district has not hired permanent full-time teachers since the 2007-2008 school year. Only
California's cuts to K-12 education, which is estimated at $18 billion over the last three years, have had a profound effect on the district. The district, which serves more than 7,000 students, has lost $7 million in revenue since the 2006-2007 school year. According to figures from the California Department of Education, the district’s enrollment has dropped by nearly 1,000 students in the last decade.
With budget numbers still in a state of uncertainty, district officials said this year's layoffs are imperative to prepare for a $349 loss per student. But talks in the state level are even projecting that number to be a “best of the worst case scenario” should tax extensions fail to gain voter approval in June.
Compounding the situation are – money owed to the school district – which will now be extended to 2012.
Assistant Superintendent Marc Chaldu said the district received nearly $7 million in federal revenue in the past, which allowed the district to rehire laid-off employees and reduced the number furlough days. However, state officials have made it very clear to school districts not to expect these funds to return in the next fiscal year.
“This has had a very significant financial impact which will be dropping off in the future,” said Chaldu.
Aside from the bleak numbers, district officials still remained hopeful the laid-off employees would be rehired again in the future.
“Hopefully, the cavalry will come over the hill,” said school board president Douglas Ferrell.