In a 5-0 vote Thursday night, the Lake Elsinore Unified School District governing board approved giving pink slips to 73 district employees, most of them school bus drivers and transportation support personnel.
The layoffs come as the district grapples with a $15 million deficit in the 2012-13 school-year budget. The shortfall includes a $2.1 million cut in state funding to the district’s school bus program.
Of the 73 job cuts approved by the board Thursday, approximately two-thirds are school bus drivers and transportation support personnel who will be let go at the end of the current school year.
The remaining non-transportation non-teaching positions could be salvaged if an agreement to take non-paid furlough days is reached by the California School Employees Association, according to district spokesman Mark Dennis. The CSEA is scheduled to meet Friday, Dennis said.
Instead of job cuts, an agreement put in place 12 non-paid furlough days for the teachers.
Thursday’s transportation cuts were expected. for the 2012-13 school year after Governor Jerry Brown proposed to cut funding for the program. The district has stated that if the governor brings back the funding, it would consider restoring school bus service for students but has warned there are no guarantees given its $15 million budget shortfall that extends beyond bussing.
Under state law, districts are required to provide school bus service for special needs students and the LEUSD has confirmed it will meet that mandate.
Thursday’s vote to move forward with layoffs prior to final word out of Sacramento and ahead of a possible agreement with the CSEA was a matter of protocol: Under state law, a district must give its classified employees notice prior to layoffs.