Issues at Eastern Sierra Unified School District continue this week. It was last week that another standing room crowd gathered at Lee Vining High School to press officials about the possible lay-offs of 8 more teachers.
The crowd seemed upset about how the district had fallen into such a desperate state. A financial presentation revealed that roughly half of the $1.8 million deficit was the result of over-spending.
Board member from Chalfant Valley, Anne Aylesworth, said that now parents and others are in the process of forming community committees to help with budget issues and solutions. Aylesworth described last Wednesday’s audience as “a lot nicer” than the Friday before when about 200 people scolded board members and the superintendent for the deficit and prospect of lay-offs.
Aylesworth said the district now has two months to “buckle down”. By May 15th, she said, they want to resolve how to deal with the deficit. Meetings are expected this week to form committees in Benton, Lee Vining and Bridgeport.
Asked how the board let the district fall into such a serious deficit, Aylesworth said, “We’ve been watching it but not as closely as we should.” She said a lot of things happened to add up to the money problems, not just actions by the board and superintendent.
Aylesworth, who has sat on the board for 12 years, said that they are “not closing three schools. We will try to consolidate things,” she said.