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Santa Barbara School District’s Newest Round of Layoff Notices Likely to Stick, Superintendent Says

District faces $6 million in cuts for next year to make up for expected losses from the state budget

Handing out layoff notices in March has become common practice for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, but most of them have been rescinded in the past. This year, though, Superintendent Dave Cash says the majority of employee reduction-in-force notices will become permanent.

The district will make $6 million in cuts going into next year to compensate for the $2.6 million structural deficit and expected loss from Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget, according to Meg Jette, assistant superintendent of business.

At last week’s school board meeting, Cash was blunt: The only places left to find that much money is with increasing class sizes and furlough days.

“You guys have done all the tricks that can be done, cut all that’s possible to cut,” he told the board. “The only things left are pretty straightforward.”

That could mean layoffs, negotiating for pay cuts or a shorter school year, he said. He will propose reorganizing the central administrative office, too, which most likely would include eliminating some part-time positions.

Cash will bring recommendations for the reduction-in-force notices and other cost-cutting measures to the Feb. 28 board meeting.

“Everyone left standing will not only do their job, but the job of people who aren’t here,” he said. “The work will not go away.”

Jette said the district’s structural deficit went from $1.9 million to $2.6 million this year, despite the help from school sites to handle the midyear “trigger” cuts.

Gov. Brown’s proposed budget assumes voters will pass the temporary increases in income and sales taxes to keep funding flat with the current year, and if the taxes don’t pass, there will be midyear cuts of $370 per student.

School officials have said the elimination of redevelopment agencies won’t bring additional revenues, at least for the 2012-13 year.

Layoff notices were given to 300 employees last spring, and nearly all of them were rescinded with the money gained from unifying the elementary and secondary districts. “Over-noticing” provided some flexibility for the district since the state’s budget gets approved after the district. Unification was a strong financial and symbolic move, but it also means the district cannot give classified employees layoff notices for the next two years.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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