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Saugus School District Prepares For The Worst

Layoffs noticed, District unsure how many teachers will lose their jobs.

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The budget problems, while safely out of Sacramento's news for now, have begun to filter down to individual schools and districts.

 

KHTS News Director Carol Rock discussed the budget impact with Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger and Hart District Board Member Steve Sturgeon during her weekly news show "Something To Talk About." That podcast is available here.

 

Just one day later, the Saugus Union School District announced that they too would be issuing pink slips for over 30 teachers.

 

Of course, the issuing of a pink slip doesn't necessarily mean that a teacher will be laid off. According to Saugus School District Board President Judy Umeck, the District is required by law to notice all potential layoffs by March 15th. After that date, they can layoff as many, or as few of the employees as they need to.

 

The process, while difficult for the teachers, is the only way of preparing for the worst case scenario. It is not uncommon for a majority of layoff notices to never come to fruition. Saugus administrators predict that many of these teachers will retain their job.

 

However, there will undoubtedly be some layoffs. Faced with the largest decrease in funding the District has faced in recent years, the normal number of layoffs may increase dramatically if the money isn't there.

 

Umeck told KHTS that the District got creative to avoid noticing even more teachers. She said that they kept their existing classroom reduction program, but made modifications to it. The state mandates a 20:1 ration of students to teachers, however Saugus will exceeded that, providing a 22.4:1 ratio across the District. As a result, the District will absorb a 10% penalty in classroom reduction funding, yet still save enough money to keep some additional teachers employed.

 

The decisions were made at this week's Saugus Union School District Board meeting, and Umeck says it was an emotional meeting. But in a state where educational requirements and funding don't always match up, each new budget year may bring its share of difficult decisions.