Be it by mail or the hand delivery of district personnel director Kristine Robertson, 51 junior high and high school teachers in the Santa Barbara School District will receive a potentially job terminating pink slip this week. Forced to action by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed $4.8 billion dollar cut in state education funding, the Santa Barbara School Board voted 3-1 Tuesday night, to give lay-off notice to dozens of their teachers. The cuts, though not written in stone, are just the first phase of what promises to be a brutal spring process as the District, translating Arnie’s cuts to a local level, slashes an estimated $4 million from their $93 million general fund.
According to school officials, not all of the pink slips are being motivated by the Governor’s controversial budget bill. Of the 51 potential terminations, 14 stem from declining enrollment in the K-12 district’s secondary schools. Of the approximately 900 educators in the District, it is those with the least seniority that find themselves on the chopping block – roughly two percent of every department, according to District numbers.
Tuesday’s vote comes before the actual budget process as California law mandates any potential dismissals must be informed no later than March 15. In an unfortunate sequence of deadlines, the State is not likely to decide the actual depth of heir cuts until early summer. Thus, the district – which has to balance their books much earlier – may be able to bring back some of these teachers before the 2008-9 school year begins.