Education

60 proposed layoffs for Porterville Unified

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A South Valley school district is looking at making steep cuts to the budget in case voters do not approve a tax increase this November.

60 teachers and administrators at Porterville Unified received notices that they could either be laid off or reassigned this fall. The superintendent is saying the cuts are necessary if they want to stay afloat this next school year.

Parents at Belleview Elementary School say they've noticed their children's classes getting bigger over the last few years.

Tim Akin, grandparent said, "It's too big she's got too many kids I don't see how she can take care of all of them."

"The size of the classrooms are smaller," said Brad Boehme. "There are only 30 kids in the class here at the school she was they had 35-37 kids in class she said it's always chaotic you can never get the teacher's help."

Porterville Unified Superintendent John Snavely says the district has made big cuts in the last few years -- totaling $18 million. "We've cut just about every program we have some reductions in athletics and our gate programs."

Snavely says since the district has eliminated all of its discretionary spending -- layoffs are likely now that they're facing a potential $7 million deficit this coming fiscal year. This means class sizes could get even bigger. In total, 60 administrators and teachers received notices that they could be laid off. Snavely hopes most will instead be reassigned.

"In particular adminsitratrive positiosn that some may have to go to the classroom or some may be to other administrative positions," said Snavely.

The only way Porterville Unified might be able to retain some of those positions is if Californians approve Governor Brown's tax increase on the November ballot. The potential teacher cuts worry parents.

Boehme said, "The teachers are so overwhelmed there are so many kids in the classroom they can't give one on one time with the kids anymore."

Akin said, "He needs extra help so if there's more kids like him in there she'll be overburdened I don't see how she can possibly do it."

Administrators are waiting for the governor's revised budget in May to see if they'll be able to retract any of those potential cuts.

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porterville, tulare county, education, jessica peres
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