Dr. Nancy Wright joined BVUSD in October 2009, when this photo was taken at her welcome reception in the new BBMS cafeteria on her third day. Since joining the school district, she has spent much time with students. "I have talked to students," she told KBHR this morning, "and they are passionate about their education, and they are concerned that their younger brothers and sisters will not have some of the choices they've had. And they are concerned about what their future will look like if their education is reduced or not as comprehensive."

Big Bear Lake, CATeachers across the state of California received pink slips yesterday, indicating that their positions could be eliminated in the 2010/2011 school year. Of those nearly 22,000 employees of public education, 26.8 are from among the Bear Valley Unified School District which, at present, employs 134 full-time teachers. In a conversation with BVUSD’s Superintendent Dr. Nancy Wright, she explains, “There were 26.8 FTE, which means full-time equivalency, but the reduction enforced actually impacts 36 people—so 36 received notice from BVUSD on Monday. Of those 36, some may get a reduction in hours, but it will depend on the program and schedules. The final decision will have to be made by May 15. It changes hourly based on what the state is doing, but our staff is dedicated and very skilled in determining what our financial picture will be as we begin the new funding year in July.”
Superintendent Wright goes on to explain that of those 26.8 certificated positions that may not return in the coming school year, some of those teachers may have reductions to, say, two periods or teaching half-time. “It will be a period over the next six weeks that will determine our enrollment,” she says, “as families are leaving or coming in to the district. We are developing the budget on the assumption that we will lose 100 students of our just over 2,800. Last year, BVUSD developed the budget based on the assumption of 73 students leaving because of the economy and, this fall, it turned out that we lost 191 students because of the financial crisis in the job market.”
Reduced student numbers translates to less ADA funding for the district and, as they make efforts to remain fiscally solvent, there have been cuts beyond the potential reduction of staffing. BVUSD has reduced or not replaced positions in the district office, management has taken salary rollbacks in furlough days, the librarian’s role at Big Bear High School has been reduced, and adult education services will be eliminated in 2010/2011. Adds Dr. Wright, “So much has been cut before. We have continued to reduce our staff and services over the last three years, while we have also been spending our reserves to keep what we have in place. Funding for public education has diminished greatly, so that we are forced to increase class sizes and eliminate programs. In spite of all the difficulties, in spite of the challenges of trying to continue to offer a comprehensive education for every student, I do believe that, collectively, our community and our staff will join together as they’ve done in the past and help us to implement some creative solutions and offer the best education that we possibly can under the circumstances. I know our staff will continue to do whatever it takes with the students in their classrooms, and I know that our support staff and our leadership team will continue to look to the future to provide the standards of education that our community expects and that our students deserve.”
Still, the pink slips have been issued to 36 this week, as mandated, and Wright is first to concede, “It is heartbreaking to know that we are impacting people’s lives, families and careers and that we are impacting the quality of education that we can provide our students.”
Going forward, the Superintendent says, “We welcome input from our staff and community and encourage them to attend our meetings.” Upcoming meetings, during which time there will be room for public comment, include this evening’s Budget Advisory Committee meeting at the school district offices on Moonridge Road at 5:30pm (and again on Mondays, March 22 and 29) and Wednesday’s school board meeting, also at the D.O. and scheduled to begin in open session at 6:30pm.