At Tuesday night’s Arcadia Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Education meeting, Resolution No. 1237, which lays off more than 60 AUSD staff members, was approved by a 5-0 vote by the Board.
Of the roughly 66 notices that will be sent to certified teachers, staff, and school administrators, an overwhelming majority of the notices will go to teachers, according to the resolution.
To further break down the layoffs: Three of the pink slips will go to counseling positions in the 6th through 12th grade levels. Two notices will lay off the school administrative positions of district curriculum coordinator and dean.
According to Marilyn Daleo, spokeswoman for AUSD, there are currently 410 teachers who work full-time in the district.
Before the motion was made to approve the resolution, three AUSD teachers spoke during the public comment time urging the Board to make sure to do all they can before teacher cuts are made.
Kerry King, a math teacher at Arcadia High School since 1983, told the Board that she was "here only tonight as an individual. … I’m worried, I’m scared, what does this mean to me, what does it mean to my colleagues, … to the students at Arcadia?
“My desire, … expectation, [is] that the five of you will personally re-examine … every single line of your budget to avoid even one single job being cut, even if it’s only for a year. "
King further said if final layoff notices are to be sent to teachers, “I want you to be able to look every single one of them in the eye,” and tell each of them everything possible was done to prevent them.
Following the public comments from the teachers, Board Clerk Maryann Gibson motioned to approve the resolution, “with a heavy heart.”
Board President Lori Phillipi fought back tears as she announced the motion to approve the resolution. With Phillipi temporarily unable to speak, Gibson jumped in and said, “It’s really hard and we do not do it carelessly,” noting that the Board is doing everything they can “sweeping up the budget dust,” to try to save jobs.
“[The layoffs] keep me up at night,” Board Member Joann Steinmeier said in the closing comments, but it needs to be done in order to, "preserve AUSD for the future.”
“It takes a lot of courage,” Superintendent Joel Shawn told the Board of its decision to approve the resolution.
“We’ll work exceptionally hard to keep us together,” he added.
The layoff notices are not definitive decisions for those who receive a pink slip, and some notices may only reduce said positions, not terminate them altogether. Shawn has previously indicated on his blog that ultimately the number of staff layoffs could be closer to 20-25.
As they prepare the 2011-2012 AUSD budget, school officials are preparing for a worst-case $2 billion reduction in education funding, which would result in a $330 per average daily attendance loss per pupil. California Governor Jerry Brown is hoping to extend temporary increases on personal income, sales and vehicle taxes via a special election ballot measure. If voters passed the extension, it would result in a reduction of a much more manageable $19 per average daily attendance per pupil.
The positions that do ultimately get cut will be effective at the close of the 2010-2011 school year. At a January Board meeting, it was said that preliminary notices will be . Final certified notices for layoffs will be sent by April 28.