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Snowline board approves layoff plan

March 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Snowline School District Board of Education has approved a program of employee layoffs, furlough days, summer school cuts and wage freezes to balance the district's 2009-2010 budget. The Board is making the cuts to close a projected $3,062,453 budget deficit.

The Board said it was struggling to balance its financial obligations at the Tuesday night meeting. The Board supported maintaining class size at the current 20:1 ratio.

The new program includes furloughs and the reduction of 15 teaching positions due to declining enrollment. It also eliminated full-time positions for computer learning specialists and a graphic artist. Four part-time receptionists, two part-time health technicians, and a part-time campus monitor were also cut.

The Board voted to eliminate summer school for kindergarten through 8th grade, and to freeze some pay raises. It also banned the use of personal appliance in classrooms and offices.

Tuesday night's vote comes after a demonstration by concerned parents and students at Vista Verde School in Victorville Tuesday. Parents were worried that the school would be hardest hit by teacher layoffs.

Nakia Wilson has two children at Vista Verde. She wonders why administrators would want to take one of the best performing staffs in the district and break it up.

Administrators say they have no choice. Teachers with the least seniority get hit first. That includes people like Vista Verde fifth-grade teacher Lynn Minnala, who got her pink slip two weeks ago.

"It's extremely hard. I have three children of my own, so not having health benefits next year, not knowing if I might get called back next year, the whole roller-coaster," Minnala said.

District Superintendent Art Golden said, " It's the toughest thing I've ever had to do in 37 years of education." He says the district is doing everything possible to reduce the number of layoffs.

"It's a little more difficult in the smaller districts, when you put the layoffs notices out we know those people, know them personally, their families, their kids and that's what makes it so tough I think," Golden said.


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