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PUSD to Issue Layoff Notices

Layoff notices will be issued to 207 teachers, librarians, administrators, nurses, counselors, psychologists, clerical and maintenance workers

Published on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | 9:42 am

The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education voted last night to issue final layoff notices to 207 teachers, librarians, administrators, nurses, counselors, psychologists, clerical and maintenance workers to meet a $23 million budget deficit and to prepare for possible additional reductions in state funding.  The Board voted to finalize the layoffs in time to meet a May 15, 2010 deadline required by state law.

“These layoffs mean that class sizes will rise, libraries will close, and it will become more difficult to deliver enrichment and support to students,” said Bob Harrison, President of the PUSD Board. “As we approach June 30, we will continue to examine our resources and maximize every dollar to ensure that academic achievement continues to progress.”

Final layoff notices will be issued to 158 certificated employees, including teachers, administrators, counselors, nurses, and psychologists as approved by the administrative law judge.  Certificated employees received preliminary reduction notices on March 15.

Layoff notices will be issued for 49 “classified” employees this week, including 15 elementary school library coordinators. Hours for another 25 classified employees were reduced. Classified public school employees perform a wide range of essential duties, including security, food services, office and clerical work, school maintenance and operations, transportation, academic assistance and para-educational services, library and media assistance, and computer services.  In California, reduction in force notices for classified employees require a 45-day notice.

PUSD has cut $33 million from its budget since 2005 as part of organizational restructuring to reduce the district’s central bureaucracy and to absorb the decline in state funding during the current economic crisis.

“I don’t want to have to lay off anybody. That is not my preference. Raising class sizes is not my preference,” said Board Vice President Renatta Cooper. “Our schools just don’t have the resources to do everything. This is painful and this is cutting to the bone.”

In the next two months, Superintendent Edwin Diaz and district staff will deliver specific recommendations for the 2010-11 budget.  Issues for consideration include flexibility for school expenditure of categorical funds; allocation of restricted funds for class size reduction; and adjustment of budget cuts to preserve critical positions.  At its upcoming meetings, the Board will also discuss policy recommendations to align categorical funding to identified priorities such as preservation of class size, dropout reduction, and parent engagement. 

The 2010-11 budget is scheduled for a first reading on June 8, second reading on June 15 and must be finalized by June 30.

“The severity of the budget shortfall requires that we target our available resources to support instructional and strategic priorities,” said Superintendent Diaz.  “Our primary focus will be to keep class sizes below 31 students.”

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