As legislators in Sacramento attempt to devise a plan to revive California’s economy, the Temple City School Board is already planning budget cuts in anticipation for the inevitable statewide education reductions.
A tentative plan from Democrats and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could translate into a $1.8 million shortfall for the Temple City Unified School District for the current 2008-2009 school year. The Republican-sponsored plan could decrease education funding by as $8.2 million in Temple City alone.
In any case, the district office is preparing to lay off many educators in Temple City. The classified staff, which consists of secretaries, groundskeepers, nurses, and other non-teaching personnel could be prime targets to lose their jobs.
Although the proposed cuts to classified staff could generate as much as $316,807, many have been adamant in their opposition to layoffs of any kind.
“I would rather see a one or two percent across-the-board income cut for all district employees,” said Robin Penn, a dean’s office employee at the high school, “than see our staff get laid off.”
Penn added that many of her associates would also prefer reduced pay to compromising jobs and the quality of the district’s education.
Rather than reducing pay or cutting jobs, some teachers have even proposed adding programs to generate more funding.
“I want to implement a full-day kindergarten program at La Rosa,” requested kindergarten teacher Ellen Laughlin, “because studies show that these programs increase enrollment, which means we get more money.”
Meanwhile, School Board member Rachel LaSota believes that many trivial expenses could be removed from the current budget.
“I am very leery of pay cuts when we’re still paying for things like travel and conferences,” LaSota said at the February 11 meeting. She vehemently noted, “these things add up quickly, and we can’t pay for things we don’t need.”
Ultimately, sacrifice seems to be the theme in all budget discussions.
“The Long Beach superintendent willingly took a $50,000 pay cut,” said Robin Penn, “and their assistant superintendent took a 20% pay cut.”
The gravity of spending cuts will only be revealed after an analysis of the recently passed state budget.
This article was written by Jason Wu. It was published in the Temple City Voice on February 27, 2009.