Preliminary layoff notices were recently delivered to teachers and staff as the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District braces for budget cuts for the 2013-2014 school year, school officials said.
The Board of Education recently approved the staff reductions, which include cutting two Chinese language teachers, two counseling services positions and a psychologist position. Ten classified staff positions were also cut, including a groundskeeper, maintenance worker, carpenter and multiple behavior interventionist positions.
In addition to the permanent faculty and staff reductions, the board also voted to release 50 temporary positions that were in place to compensate for various faculty and staff on leaves of absence.
While the layoffs will not be finalized until May 15 and some could still be rescinded, PVPUSD Director of Human Resources Bill Franchini said that cuts will definitely need to be made for the next school year.
"We are looking at having to make reductions in staff for next year," Franchini told Patch on Tuesday. "In order to get our ducks in a row, we have to make sure our expenditures do not exceed revenues so we are trying to narrow that gap as we have been operating in somewhat of a deficit."
Franchini also said the district still needs to see whether or not Gov. Jerry Brown's January budget proposal gets approved in June. According to a staff report, the exact impact of the governor's proposed budget on the school district is still under review.
"We are all dependant on the state budget and we are not sure whether the governor's proposal from January will move forward or not," Franchini said.
The cuts have many parents upset, including Jennifer Tsai, who said the elimination of the two Chinese teachers will essentially eliminate the school district's Chinese language program for intermediate school students.
"At a time when school districts in neighboring cities are trying to find ways to implement Chinese instructions in the intermediate/middle schools, the PV school district is eliminating ours," Tsai wrote in an email. "Offering Chinese as a language elective at our intermediate schools was a unique element at PVPUSD that even the Manhattan Beach school district can't compete."
Fellow parent Frances Yee, a parent at Rancho Vista, even began an online petition in the hopes of saving the district's Chinese instruction program at the three intermediate schools. As of Tuesday, the petition had gained 253 signatures.
The Board of Education will reconvene at a special meeting on April 16 for policy review.
“Now we wait and kind of see how this is really going to go down and see whether we can rescind the layoff notices and rehire some of those temps or not," Franchini said.