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Riverside Unified Approves 124 Teacher Cuts

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By BVN Staff –

It’s shaping up to be a ‘blue’ Christmas for 124 Riverside Unified School District teachers in kindergarten through third grade. They’re about to join the unemployed.

The school board voted Monday night to lay off the teachers in order to help close a gaping $37 million budget deficit for next year.

The board also voted not to fill three principal and assistant principal positions at a projected savings of $404,250.

“This is not okay. This is personal,” said Superintendent Rick Miller. Miller said the cuts are a last resort.

“We don’t have a lot of choices left. Every employee in the district is being asked to make sacrifices.” The biggest fall out is class size.

The ratio of students to teachers will go from the class reduction size of 20 to 1 to 30 to 1.

Miller and top school administrators urged people to contact legislators in Sacramento.

“Ask them when will they get the message that there’s no fat left to cut. We’re hurting teachers and pupils.” Assistant Superintendent Kirk Lewis agreed calling the budget predicament the worst financial crisis in the district’s history.

A teacher who said she expects to be laid off put a face on the cuts:

“I crashed my car in February, lost my home in June, my cat died in August and now I’m about to lose my job – so what else is new.”

“I see no way we can move forward without staff reductions,” responded Miller.

The layoffs will save the district $5.9 million of the $9 million needed to make the budget mark. The layoffs are set to take effect in the 2010 school year.

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