Contra Costa braces for more cuts

May 14, 2009 5:53:25 PM PDT
California's Superintendent of Schools says the governor's cuts to education are a choice between devastating and horrific.

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There is a sense of anxiety and helplessness at the Mount Diablo School District and in places like Antioch, where all they really can do is watch the developments in Sacramento and more importantly, what happens on the polls on May 19th.

Science teacher Alison Kramer tries to focus on her students knowing her job is on the line in next Tuesday's election.

"It's horrible that I'm losing my job, but I'm more upset that my students won't have teachers who care about them in their classroom," said Kramer.

Forty of Mt. Diablo High's 90 teachers are on the current layoff list, a list that becomes reality if voters do not approve Tuesday's statewide propositions or local Measure D, a $99 parcel tax.

"I am not sure as the principal how I can even run this school without the support of people who really have been working very hard. We are a site full of young wonderful teachers, many first-year teachers," said Mt. Diablo High School Principal Beverly Hansen

In Antioch, Governor Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers will make a bad budget situation worse if the ballot measures fail, by diverting local property taxes to the state.

"If the message from the voters is that they don't want to support the governor's proposals, then we'll lose approximately one and a half million dollars," said City Manager Jim Jakel.

Twenty-seven city employees have already lost their jobs, and the rest will work four-day weeks and take a 10 percent pay cut. Starting July 1st, city offices including the police lobby and animal shelter will close on Fridays.

Still, Antioch's carol stalker plans to vote no on the statewide propositions.

"I think the cities are struggling to get by on what they have, but I also think all areas of government need to be more careful with the money they spend," said Stalker.

Even if those propositions fail as the polls are indicating, the Mount Diablo School District is hoping that the local parcel tax passes. They believe it can save some programs like sports, music and perhaps a few teacher positions.

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