Local Schools Brace for Cuts

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to cut $4.8 billion from education funding in California. For our local schools, this means the potential of many thousands of dollars in funds. classroomjpeg.jpg

In Bishop schools, almost 20 teaching positions drew pink slips in March. The lay-offs could become permanent in the fall, but school administrators will keep trying to save the jobs.

Maggie Kingsbury, Superintendent of Bishop High School, said that proposed state budget cuts meant pink slips for 13 teachers and 4 administrators, plus other school jobs. Kingsbury said the school will add employees back in as state funding allows. The lay-offs are based on seniority. At Bishop High School, one of those set for a cut due to seniority is Football Coach Bill Egan. Superintendent Kingsbury said she's trying to work something out to keep the Coach.

At the elementary and middle schools in Bishop, Superintendent Barry Simpson said that he is also watching the governor's budget but had to declare the need to cut 6 positions. Simpson did say that declining enrollment in the schools would have required a number of cuts anyway, but state budget cutbacks have made things more difficult.

Simpson said the lay-off notices are very difficult and that there's a "lot of emotion involved." He said the state budget cuts are the worst he has ever seen.

At Mammoth schools, there were no pink slips for teachers although funding cuts are expected. Mammoth is what's called a basic aid school which relies more on local property tax dollars than state funds, so state uncertainties hit a little less hard.

Also, Mammoth School officials have taken the stand that they don't want to put teachers in such a precarious position – guessing from March to September if they have jobs.

Other schools in the Eastern Sierra are also basic aid funded, but all of the schools will face some type of cutbacks from state funding. Statewide, more than 18,000 pink slips went out in March – 14,000 to teachers

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