State Budget Cuts Could Lead to Teacher Layoffs

With the order from the Governor to cut the state budget 10% across the board, local schools will be affected if the cuts go through. How this state budget mess overflows to the Eastern Sierra Schools is still taking shape.

With $4.8 billion in education cuts possible statewide, George Lozito, the superintendent for the Inyo County Schools reports that 107,000 teachers and 137,000 support staff could be laid off statewide. For the Inyo County Schools this could mean four teachers and 2 people in administration.

Its not just staff that may take a hit, Lozito explained that the Governors budget translates to $800 dollars less per student. Special education, vocational training, state preschool and after school programs, are all on the list for cuts.

Bishop High School Superintendent Maggie Kingsbury reports a lot of money to cut out of the budget, 8% across the board. More information on potential layoff and cuts in the Bishop High School District is expected Wednesday.

Jim Maxey, the Business Manager for the Mammoth Unified School District explained that the district is expected to see cuts ranging from $120-150,000. We going to feel it, he says, but in Mammoth the schools will feel less of a pinch than other schools. Maxey explained that Mammoth Unified is one of the rare California School Districts that rely more on local property taxes than money from the state.

What this means, Maxey explained, is that Mammoth Unified is not planning to layoff teachers but will find other ways to cut corners like cuts to special education, class-size reduction, nutrition, transportation, and books for the library.

Faced with declining enrollment already shrinking school budgets in the Eastern Sierra, Lozito says that as things stand, you dont see a lot of luxury at our schools.

Lozito is not pleased with the Governor and Legislature in Sacramento. He says that the Governor and Legislature are acting simply as mathematicians, and that this budget shows no leadership. A true leader, according to Lozito, would make decisions to value some programs over others, perhaps cut some programs entirely, but not just order cuts across the board.

The Legislature has until June to finalize the budget, in the meantime the local schools and the employees that may be out of a job are left to scramble with an uncertain future.

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