Big Bear Lake, CA — Nearly 22,000 public school employees will be receiving pink slips in California today, March 15, and, of those, 26 are teachers employed by the Bear Valley Unified School District. Each year on March 15, school districts are legally required to notify staff if their positions could be eliminated in the coming school year. In anticipation of this deadline, on March 3, BVUSD’s Board of Trustees voted to increase teacher-student ratios in the 2010/2011 school year, per Budget Advisory Committee recommendations to address budget cuts; this decision, which was followed by a March 4 statement indicating the trustees’ “deep regret for the action they were required to take,” eliminates 15 full-time teacher positions at the elementary level, eight at Big Bear Middle School and 3.8 positions at Big Bear High School. In a statement issued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell today, he says, “Our state budget crisis has forced districts to lay off thousands of teachers over the past few years. The Governor has proposed cutting another $2.4 billion from public education. While the education community opposes these cuts, our schools are forced to prepare for this potential outcome by issuing a massive wave of potential layoff notices. To date, 21,905 pink slips have been issued to teachers and other staff around the state this year. While I understand the Governor and the Legislature have tough decisions to make, these budget cuts are devastating our schools and impacting our ability to do the most important job in our society—that is, to teach our children.” The 26 receiving pink slips from BVUSD are among the 134 full-time teachers employed by the district. School staff and community members who would like to contribute input regarding budget issues will have opportunity tomorrow, as the district’s Budget Advisory Committee meets at 5:30pm Tuesday evening; the March 16 BAC meeting will be held at the school district offices, located at 42271 Moonridge Road in Big Bear Lake.