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Without additional tax revenue, Lancaster School District warns of further furlough days

October 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There was no school Monday for students and teachers in the Lancaster School District due to a forced furlough. That school district is warning things could get much worse.

Monday was the first of six furlough days for Lancaster School District employees this school year.

This is the third year of multiple furlough days for Lancaster schools. The district is trying to shore up a $25-million shortfall over three years.

School district officials say if Governor Jerry Brown's tax proposal to fund schools (Proposition 30) does not pass in November or if state lawmakers don't come up with another plan, things will get a lot worse.

"We could be looking at an additional 15 furlough days. In actuality that's quite a bit," said Lancaster Superintendent Michele Bowers. "What we're talking about is a loss of one month's school, one month of education to our children, and our children cannot afford that."

"If we go to the full furlough with the 15 days, if Prop. 30 doesn't pass and the local bond measure doesn't pass, we're losing a full month's paycheck," said Julie Plaisance, a Lancaster teacher. "We've already had teachers have mortgages that are right on the edge. They've had health care costs go up every year. We've already laid off over 100 teachers in the past several years, and increased our class size. We've done everything we can at the local level."

School district officials say they are doing what they can to bring in revenue locally with Measure L, a school bond measure on the November ballot.

"That is an initiative that would actually allow for funding to come directly to our district," said Bowers. "It's a $63-million bond, and it's only at a cost to our property owners of about $38 a year. But that money comes directly to our district. It's only about a dime a day."

School district officials say that extra revenue would not take care of all of their budget problems -- but it would help.


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