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School District Works to Bring Back Staffers it Laid Off

With state and federal budgets tightening, the Pomona Unified School District is finding it difficult to bring back positions it was forced to cut earlier this year.

As children made their way back to school this week, Pomona Unified School District officials continued efforts to bring back as many staffers as they could from among those who were laid off earlier this year.

Of the 90 teachers let go in May, 40 of them have returned to classrooms, school district officials said. An additional 10 adult education teachers and nine child development teachers have also returned.

A careful look at the budget and use of a variety of grants allowed them back but the district is still minus roughly 50 teachers, said District Superintendant Richard Martinez.

“But those teachers have the first opportunity to substitute in classes,” Martinez said.

They continue to look for ways to bring back even more teachers, he said. It’s been a challenge said Darren Knowles, assistant superintendent of personnel.

“Things are getting pretty tight right now with the state and federal government,” Knowles said. “Everyone is battling with budgets. We’ll continue to look for additional funding to bring additional teachers back but it’s difficult.

In February and May, the district approved layoff notices to about 270 employees in an effort to close a $19.3 million deficit from the 2012-13 budget.

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. The school year began Aug. 14.

School budgets are being affected by the state deficit, which Governor Jerry Brown recently announced had grown to $15.7 million.

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