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Steven M. Sturgeon: A letter to Hart teachers

President, Hart district

Posted: March 15, 2009 1:17 a.m.
Updated: March 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Editor's note: The following open letter to the teachers of the William S. Hart Union High School District was published at the request of Steven M. Sturgeon, president of the district's governing board.

School districts across the state are faced with sizable cuts in revenue projections. Everything the district commits to is based on the guarantees provided by state funding (with a small portion of our total budget coming from federal sources).

The board's responsibility is to ensure the fiscal stability of the district within the parameters of any state budget.

While numbers are not yet fixed, we are currently faced with a projected loss of over $24 million dollars over the next two years. It could be more.

In order to meet the reduced monies allocated to education, we know there is no "easy way out."

The board along with the district will recommend cuts in programs, administration, operating expenses and yes, salaries and/or benefits for all employees of the district.

By Friday, March 13, a letter signifying a notice of "possible Reduction in Force" (RIF) was sent to 95 teachers. The purpose is strictly to communicate a legal action required by the California Education Code on or before March 15.

Most of you are already probably aware that this notice to your peers is a precursor to the negotiations that will and are taking place between the Hart District Teachers Association and the district for the balance of the current year and the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

The notice does not mean the district will be laying off 95 teachers at the end of this school year.

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.

You don't need to look far to know that a laid-off worker has few opportunities to find gainful employment in this economy.

Our objectives include retaining the academic, fine arts and extracurricular programs at current levels.

They comprise an important segment of a comprehensive educational experience for the students of this district.

We as a community have worked diligently for many years to create one of the best learning environments in the state and we
intend to improve upon it.

We have a short time, between now and the end of May, to settle on our financial plan for next year.

The more than 2,000 employees of the district will be a part of the solution.

The board encourages you to look past the current budget uncertainties and consider what you will bring to the Hart District next year after we have defined our financial directions.

Our students demonstrate regularly that there are no limits to what they can accomplish when challenged to do so.

We will mirror their abilities and their actions by ensuring they have the future we expect for them.

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