Vallejo considers major cuts

March 5, 2008 11:49:24 PM PST
On Wednesday night, the school district there warned hundreds of teachers they could lose their jobs.

That's a step that's already been taken by Alameda and Pittsburg -- as districts struggle to deal with state cuts.

The Vallejo's Teacher's Union charged into a battle without much ammunition. It had to present its new labor contract proposal on a day the board unanimously approved sending out 206 lay off notices.

Superintendent Mary Bull warned them not to expect much.

"And there's just no other way around it; It's sort of choose your poison," said Superintendent Mary Bull, Ph.D.

Vallejo Unified Schools have been under state control for three and a half years because it mismanaged its money. It's trying to pay back a $60 million dollar loan. School curriculum is scaled down to the bare bones and now the governor's budget cuts will mean $5 million dollars less.

"I'm not sure that too many teachers think that Governor Schwarzenegger was a hero. He may have been a hero in the movie, but I don't think he's been hero for education," said Teacher's Union President Janice Sullivan.

School board member Raymond Mommsen urged citizens to write letters to the governor.

"It's our future, and the children and the treatment of them actually lye the solutions that confront society and the state today," said Mommsen.

Sixty-six teachers are among those who will receive layoff notices, but most are not worried.

"We do anticipate that they will be rehired since every year a hundred teachers, generally speaking, have left Vallejo because they don't like working here," said Vallejo teacher Joanna Chocooj.

Laying off school employees won't be enough to cover the $5 million dollar deficit. So in two weeks, the school board will consider increasing class size, and cutting high school sports, music and after-school programs. That's on March 19th.