[UPDATED] Pomona Unified Will Issue Over 272 Layoff Notices, Supports Tax Extension

The Pomona Unified School District Voted Tuesday Night to issue layoff notices for 272 full-time instructors to give the district the option of layoffs should voters not approve tax extensions to support education in June.

The Pomona Unified School District decided Tuesday night that it will issue layoff notices to 272 full-time teachers and counselors, 159 substitute or part-time teachers, and all adminstrators for the end of the school year.

However, district officials are still uncertain about how many of these layoffs will actually take place in June.

That number will depend on voters' willingness to support extending taxes that would allow education to be funded near current levels.

The board also voted Tuesday to voice support for such a ballot measure during a special election in June.

Board Vice-President Jason Rothman cast the sole dissenting vote against issuing the layoff notices; Board Member Andrew Wong cast the sole dissenting vote against supporting the special election ballot measure in June.

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Originally reported 2/22, 2:11 p.m.:

The Pomona Unified School District stands to lose $349 per student in its 2011-2012 budget if California voters do not approve the extension of taxes to support education spending during a special election in June.

"That would make a big change in how we do business," Tyra Rose Weis, president of the Associated Pomona Teachers, said, "and we like to say to keep the cuts as far from the classroom as possible."

At the school board's meeting Tuesday night, members will consider a resolution to voice official support of a special election ballot measure that would ask voters to extend taxes to curb further education cuts.

"If [taxes] are not extended, then education will take the full brunt of that," Leslie Barnes, chief financial officer of the district, said .

If voters do approve the tax extensions, Barnes said the district will lose $19 per student rather than $349 per student if the tax extension is turned down.

In the meantime, the district is bracing for the worst.

"We'll be planning as if those taxes are not going to be passed," Barnes said in late January.

The district will plan to cut a total of $28.5 million from the 2011-2012 budget, Barnes said.

As a part of preparing for those cuts, the board will also consider the approval of layoff notices for over 200 employees Tuesday night, Weis said, though the exact number of notices to be approved is not yet certain.

"We got some indication that it would be about 100 in adult education and about 100 in child development," Weis said.

These employees are contracted with the district until June, when voters may decide to put more money in education coffers, but layoff notices must be approved before a March 15 deadline should the district need to ultimately cut those positions.

Weis said nearly $50 million has been cut from the district's budget over the past three years, a period during which Weis said teachers faced layoffs worse than what she expects from this year.

"I'm hoping we don't see the 324 [layoffs] that were approved last year," Weis said, "but I would be shocked if it was the 643 of two years ago."

Still, Weis acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding the test education funding will likely face in June.

"Who knows now what will happen," Weis said.

Tuesday's board meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the district board room at 800 S. Garey Avenue in Pomona.


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