During the lunch break Wednesday, teachers and staff at Bishop High gathered in the school library to write letters and place phone calls to the Governor protesting the proposed state budget cuts that could leave education in California high and dry.
Bishop Unified High School District Superintendent Maggie Kingsbury reports that the district may have to cut between $400,000 and $500,000 out of the budget for next year. This could mean two or three teachers, plus administration staff, might receive notifications of a potential layoff in March.
The governor has asked for a 10% budget cut across the board. Whether the state legislature changes this budget when they adopt a final document in June is yet to be seen, but the schools have to plan for the cuts. Bishop High School Principal Mike Garret called the proposed cuts “unfathomable.” Garret said that it was his gut feeling that the governor is using the buget cuts as some sort of political leverage. Regardless, he explained, the schools have to let staff know that they could be laid off.
If the legislature approves the $4.8 billion in cuts on the table for California schools, 107,000 teachers and 137,000 staff could lose their jobs statewide. Vocational programs, after school programs, and special education could also take a hit.
Other local districts will be affected too. Mammoth Unified is partly funded by local property taxes and would have to cut programs but not staff. Inyo County Schools would have to cut programs, plus four teachers and two administration staff, according to Inyo School Superintendent George Lozito.
Bishop School Superintendent Maggie Kingsbury encourages parents and other concerned residents to write letters to Assemblyman Bill Maze, State Senator Roy Ashburn, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.