COACHELLA, Calif. - More layoffs are on the way at the Coachella Valley Unified School District. The board voted 5-1 to cut 96 more positions to help deal with a budget deficit. It comes on the heels of 51 teachers receiving pink slips last month. "It's going to impact the students and all the funding that's going to be provided to them, and the services most importantly," said Carlos Castaneda, a project data technician at Cesar Chavez Elementary.
He fears students will suffer the most from the latest round of layoffs. He is one of 96 classified employees and preschool teachers who are set to be laid off. Classified means anyone that's not a teacher or administrator. It includes positions like librarians, office assistants and project data technicians. "We've been overstaffed for many years, and we did that intentionally, but now we are going to correct that, because moving forward we're going to be in a better financial situation," said Dr. Darryl Adams, superintendent for the district.
A situation with a $10.7 million deficit that could wipe out the reserves which stands at about $11.4 million. The deficit needs to be reduced in order to keep the reserves at 3% of the district's $180 million operating budget for 2014 through 2015. Several people spoke out against the fiscal recovery plan at the latest board meeting. Superintendent Dr. Adams says, the district's just restructuring, not saying goodbye to these employees. "Most of those people affected will probably have opportunities for new jobs with new job descriptions that fit, what our educational program is going to be like," said Adams.
A program Dr. Adams says puts an emphasis on technology, but students like Hector Narin, a junior at Coachella Valley high school, say the current librarians and media technicians do more than enough already. "They help, they assist the students, they provide resources for the students to learn," said Narin.
Despite knowing his pink slip's on the way, Castaneda says he's not ready to stop fighting the layoffs because he's not ready to give up on the district. "It's hard to let go of the community, of the schools we work for, so it would be very hard to just walk away from that," said Castaneda.
Dr. Adams says nothing will be finalized until the budget for the next fiscal year is approved on June 30. The employees said it's also difficult to deal with layoffs while other neighboring districts are giving raises and expanding.