Some 270 employees with the Pomona Unified School District recently received layoff notices and officials say they will be forced to make even more cuts in order to shave a total of $19.3 million dollars off of the 2012-13 budget.
On May 1, district board members approved the layoffs of 180 non-certified, or non-teacher, positions. In February, the board had approved cutting 90 certified instructor positions.
“We’re having (a meeting) to discuss layoffs for administration here in June. There will be reassignments and cuts,” said Richard Martinez, Superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District.
And if a tax initiative to increase the sales tax and raise levies on upper income earners - to help raise money for schools and balance the state's budget - does not pass in November, the district will be forced to cut an additional $10 million, Martinez said.
A segment of Diamond Bar youngsters attend school in the district. Several attend Diamond Ranch High School.
School budgets are being affected by the state deficit, which Governor Jerry Brown recently announced had grown to $15.7 million.
This has left several districts to scrutinize budgets to find solutions to the dwindling funding. Pomona Unified has found ways of bringing in needed revenue.
The board approved the June 1 closure of Pueblo Elementary, a K-8 school located inside a renovated shopping center on Holt Avenue and Indian Hill Boulevard. The school opened in 1997 as an overflow school.
“We’ve been declining (in enrollment) significantly for the last six years, so we’re able to fit all those students for the most part back into their resident schools.” Martinez said.
It’s a win-win, Martinez said. “They will be closer to their homes and the savings is well over $600,000 a year on one single action,” he said.
They have also started a Saturday school where students can make up for days missed from class. Since the school is not paid for days students do not attend, this allows them to recoup some of the money.
Administrators have also begun to look at the details of the revised state budget that Governor Brown released Monday.
“We’re looking at different things,” said Leslie Barnes, Pomona Unified Chief Financial Officer. “But we need to get into the details of the revise.”
While they weather the financial storm, Martinez said he says he’s been trying to build optimism and confidence.
“I try to let (parents) know this too will pass and we will get through this crisis,” Martinez said. “This truly is the great recession that we’re in the middle of.”
“What makes it a little easier is that we get to go to work to happy faces. We may not be getting paid the money we used to get but the type of work that we get to do to educate the future of America, that keeps us going,” he said.