budgetcut-thumbOn last Friday the 13th, more than 26,000 teachers and school staff within California received pink slips, as this was the last business day prior to March 15, the annual statutory deadline for school districts to issue layoff notices for the coming school year. Within the Bear Valley Unified School District, (as reported last week) 18 full-time teachers from Big Bear Middle School and the elementaries were among those to receive notice—though as BVUSD’s Director of Personnel Tim Larson pointed out, “These can be pulled back. We are hoping to minimize this number, pending final budget determinations from the state.” Last year this time, 10,000 California teachers received pink slips, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, though all told an estimated 5,000 ultimately lost their jobs. As for those 18 Big Bear Valley teachers who do not yet know if they will be rehired for the next school year, Larson had noted, “There’s a whole bunch of balls in the air right now.” The school board has another staff union meeting scheduled for after spring break, in April, so no final determinations on BVUSD staffing issues will be made before that time. Per State Superintendent O’Connell, “Before the current cuts were enacted, California already ranked 47th in the nation in per-pupil spending. These current cuts are sure to push us further down the scale. Our future depends on our ability to prepare the next generation for success in the hyper-competitive global economy. The budget crisis and the teacher layoffs we are now witnessing makes that challenge much, much harder. In order to deliver the quality education our students need we must get off this budget roller coaster and find a stable, long-term solution to education funding. Our future depends on it.”