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Sulphur Springs faces potential teacher layoffs

Posted: February 28, 2013 6:31 p.m.
Updated: February 28, 2013 6:31 p.m.

Sixteen teachers in the Sulphur Springs School District have been put on notice that they may not be teaching in the Canyon Country school district next year, district officials said Thursday.

Under state law, school districts are required to notify certificated employees — including teachers, counselors and assistant principals — if there is a possibility they will be laid off for the next school year.

Those employees have to be notified by March 15, according to Sulphur Springs district Superintendent Robert Nolet.
Last year the district sent out 42 such notices, according to board documents.

Sulphur Springs board member Denis DeFigueiredo, who was part of the unanimous vote to send out the notices Wednesday night, said layoffs are the last resort for the district.

“The last thing we want to see are teachers being removed from classrooms,” DeFigueiredo said.

Nolet said Thursday the recommendation is fueled by uncertainty in terms of future state funding.

As a result, the district needs to be financially cautious, Nolet said.

“We just simply can’t go into next year guaranteeing positions we may not be able to afford,” Nolet said.

Much of the uncertainty comes from a proposal by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to change the way school districts are funded.

Under that proposal, schools with higher populations of English-language-learning or low-income students would stand to receive more in state funding.

Nolet said it is unclear when, or if, that funding model will go into place.

Another wrinkle is forthcoming funding from the Proposition 30 tax hikes, which raised the state income and sales tax rates in part to provide money for education.

While Nolet said Proposition 30 will eventually turn out to be financially beneficial for the district, the measure mostly spares districts from additional budget cuts rather than injecting new money into schools.

“Even with this proposal districts are certainly not flush with money,” Nolet said.

Wednesday’s vote is the first step in determining the extent of any staff layoffs in the district, Nolet said. The district has until May 15 to finalize what the cuts might be.

“Our goal will be to try and solidify what we believe our funding will be and, if at all possible, try and rescind many if not all of those notices,” Nolet said.
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