Santa Barbara’s Hope School District governing board has decided to lay off six full-time teachers and three part-time reading specialists to offset the budget deficit facing the school district in 2017-18.
The pink slips are the latest impact of the district’s revenue shortfall from local tax dollars, as well as state and federal funding.
The layoffs will go into effect before the start of the 2017-18 school year.
Eliminating the positions is slated to save roughly $700,000 in salary and benefits, according to Superintendent Anne Hubbard.
“I don’t want to lose these teachers — they are phenomenal,” Hubbard said. “I don’t want to (cut teachers) — but we don’t have another choice at this point.”
There are 41 teachers across the district, according to board president Dan Cunnison.
“We are doing what we can to make sure the Hope School District remains a place for high-quality education,” Cunnison said.“We are projecting to meet our budget so far."
The district is required to show a 1 percent reserve this year and the full 4 percent reserve restored next year, which is $400,000, Hubbard said.
“We are not expecting a huge increase in our revenue — but we will have increases in our expenses, ” Hubbard said.
The district's annual operating budget is about $10 million, Hubbard said.
“The teacher layoffs are just one reduction,” Hubbard said. “We are putting everything on the table — to look at every option and look at the best interest of the students and district.”
Hubbard said the district is even considering closing one of its three schools.
“We aren’t planning to close the school — but we should give it an honest evaluation and keep an open mind,” Hubbard said. “I want to hear all the ideas and give everything a solid consideration before we shut it down. We would have opportunities for input before that.”
Among the potential cuts, district officials are looking into bigger class sizes and possibly mixed-grade combo classrooms.
Additionally, Hubbard said administrative and management positions took a 2-percent cut.
One large expense for the school is the more-than-$100,000 bill for services regionally provided in special education from the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
The school governing board, business managers and superintendent are working to prepare a comprehensive budget analysis and a town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 6 at the Hope Elementary School District multipurpose room at 3970 La Colina Rd. in Santa Barbara.