LA MESA – The economic recession that devastated local real estate and other companies over the last 24 months is now spreading its venom through the public sector. The most obvious victims – our public schools.
The decline in state revenues and the limitations of the famed Proposition 13 have resulted in a wave of new cuts rolling downhill from Sacramento like a financial tsunami. As we speak:
The La Mesa-Spring Valley school board is readying layoff notices to 98 teachers.
The Grossmont Union High School District is asking its employees for a 5 percent salary cut, five furlough days and an increase in the employee share of health care costs.
In nearby Santee, layoff notices are going to 21 employees and early retirements are being considered to eliminate 27 positions, including 22 teachers.
The Lemon Grove School District will mothball a school and may need layoffs as well to close its budget gap.
Teachers and parents have been trying to raise the hue and cry about what cuts like this will mean for the quality of education. However, the depth of the state budget crisis makes it unlikely there is some sort of financial or political white knight this time around. The cries actually form a chorus that includes the community college districts, the state university system and local municipalities that are all being forced through painful retrenchment because of the recession and the decline in state revenues.
For local communities, the impact of these layoffs will be felt doubly, with bigger class sizes and reduced electives and special programs in the schools and with more of our friends and neighbors being forced out of work. That inevitably leads to more foreclosures and the loss of education talent as some of these employees will be forced into other lines of work or to relocate to other regions to maintain their income.
Saturday’s Union-Tribune had a roundup of East County woes. See the story here: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/mar/06/schools-grapple-with...