More cuts possible for Mt. Diablo School District

March 7, 2011 5:17:49 PM PST
School districts in California have eight more days to decide if any of their teachers will be laid off. According to the California Teachers Association, this year a record number of teachers are expected to get pink slips. The latest is the Mount Diablo Unified School District.

Mount Diablo like so many other districts must, once again, cut positions. At Mount Diablo those most vulnerable are the ones who are not teaching English or math.

Mount Diablo schools are looking to cut elementary school music teachers and librarians. Laura Burns has been a librarian for 13 years.

"I would be moved back into the classroom as a K- 5 teacher," she said.

Also in jeopardy is that weekly half-hour music class in elementary schools. Mike Langley is with Teachers' Union.

"The whole emphasis of math and language as if there is nothing else to an education has already started to undercut the full education that our children should be getting," he said.

But the state faces a $26 billion budget deficit. Gov. Jerry Brown says the only way to keep cuts away from the classroom is to make reductions elsewhere and to extend tax hikes. Brown and Democrats would like to see voters decide in June. In the meantime, school districts must prepare for the worst case scenario.

"We have to assume that the June election will either not take place or will fail," said.

On Monday, union representatives met to discuss ways to respond to these potential cuts.

"I've had pink slips for years and I know my comrades have. I'm hoping the district will make other choices," music teacher Deborah Bullard said.

But Superintendent Steven Lawrence said with the potential cuts coming from Sacramento, it's hard to save teacher positions.

"Teachers make up 56 percent of our overall budget. They are a large component of that so very much we would like to keep as much away from the classroom but we've had three significant years of reduction from the state," he said. If we continue to get reductions from the state we're going to have to look everywhere. "

The board will meet on Tuesday night to approve these layoffs and to consider other cost cutting measures. The deadline for the layoffs is March 15.

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