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Hart sends out pink slips

Posted: March 14, 2009 1:13 a.m.
Updated: March 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Local teachers cross the street on Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road protesting the recent pass out of pink slips Friday afternoon.

The William. S. Hart Union High School District mailed pink slips to 96 teachers and counselors this week as the district prepares for a possible $24 million budget shortfall over the next two years.

"The notice does not mean you will be laid off at the end of this school year," a cover letter from Governing Board President Steve Sturgeon tells the affected teachers.

"From the inception of the budget crisis, the governing board's intention is to not lay off any employee of the district because of budget issues."

Layoff notices must be sent out by March 15 to anyone who could be let go for the 2009-10 school year.

The Hart district is currently facing a projected shortfall of more than $24 million over the next two years and will be recommending cuts in programs, administration, operating expenses and salaries and/or benefits for all employees of the district.

With more than 85 percent of the district's budget tied to salaries and benefits, many of the budget-cutting measures recommended must be negotiated with employee unions.

The number of actual layoffs could be changed by May 19 special election results.

The Santa Clarita Valley's only junior high and high school district had originally projected that it would need to send more than 180 pink slips by the March 15 deadline, anticipating a budget shortfall as high as $40 million over the next several years.

The current target of $24 million in cuts is based on a careful analysis of the recently passed state budget.

"Our hope is not to have any employees lose jobs," said Rochelle Neal, assistant superintendent of human resources. "It will depend on negotiations and what happens with the May elections."

This week's notices went to 14 counselors and 82 teachers based on seniority in the district.


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