The troubled Eastern Sierra Unified School District has been dealt another blow. Facing a $1.8 million budget shortfall the school board has been forced to consider lay offs for over thirty employees, both teachers and staff.
The school board, district administration, and concerned members of the public are still at work to figure out exactly how the inevitable cuts will be made. In the meantime, the Mono County Office of Education has downgraded the budget certification of the Eastern Sierra Unified School District from positive to qualified, meaning that the district is on shaky financial ground.
Catherine Hiatt, the superintendent of the Mono County Office of Education, explained that the qualified rating means that due to the deficit, Eastern Sierra Unified School District cant meet their obligations this year and for the following two years.
Hiatt says that her office had warned the Eastern Sierra Unified School District about deficit spending in the past. This year the $1.8 million budget shortfall is due to a combination of declining revenue and overspending. Hiatt explained that since 2007, the District has hired 35 additional new staff members. This turns out to be about the same number of people that face layoffs this year.
Eastern Sierra Unified has not finalized what cuts will be made, but at their board meeting in March, the district approved the possible layoff of 17 teachers. The school board is also set to consider layoffs of 21 staff members like a groundskeeper, secretary, classroom aides, and custodians for a total of 38 staff members.
With this new budget certification, Eastern Sierra Unified School District will have to submit a revised budget in June. In the meantime Eastern Sierra Unified continues to work on the hard decisions that appear inevitable.