Following a review of the impact of the state budget on the South Bay Union School District's 2011-12 budget at a meeting June 9, the board of trustees voted to make significant cuts and layoffs to district preschool and childcare programs.
Due to a loss of more than $500,000 in funding, three preschool teachers and five master preschool teacher positions will be eliminated.
The shortfall will also result in the elimination of the jobs of eight bilingual preschool instructional assistants, a bus attendant, custodian, family services liaison and van driver. Work hours will be reduced for 46 employees.
Prior to the presentation, California School Employees’ Association 742 President Ethel Larkins and Southwest Teachers Association Imperial Beach representative Frank Cherry asked the board to table its decision on the preschools until after the release of the June 15 state budget.
“A brighter future is based on the economy turning around. You don’t turn the economy around laying people off," Cherry said following Assistant Superintendent Scott Buxbaum's presentation. "This is the rainy day. We’re in the rainy day right now."
Buxbaum said there are many obstacles for preschool and child care program finances, citing a possible 22 percent cut to the First Five program and a 15 percent reduction to funding from Senate Bill 70.
The new legislation accounts for a 15 percent reduction to preschool, child care and migrant daycare staff. A cut of $716 million will come about as a result of the legislation, Buxbaum said.
Buxbaum explained that regardless of the state budget, the cuts between the First Five program and SB 70 would force them to “change the program no matter what.”
"There is $1.8 million in undesignated funds in the proposed budget," he said. "We can't look at it as funding programs, or even teachers—we need to realize we’re funding students,” he said.
A final draft of the district's budget will be approved at a June 30 meeting.