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California's public schools send out 22,000 pink slips

March 15, 2010 | 12:58 pm

Faced with another year of potentially deep budget cuts, California's public schools have sent out 22,000 pink slips to teachers and school employees, according to the state's superintendent.

"Our state budget crisis has forced districts to lay off thousands of teachers over the past few years," said Jack O'Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction. "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."

According to figures provided by O'Connell's office, more than 16,000 teachers lost their jobs in 2009. The latest round of pink slips do not guarantee that these 22,000 school employees will be laid off. Final staffing decisions will be based on the budget passed by lawmakers this summer. But school districts had until Monday to notify anyone who may be laid off before the next school year begins.

Still, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Aaron McLear, took umbrage with O'Connell's characterization of the governor's January budget proposal, noting that Schwarzenegger has proposed allocating the same amount of money for K-12 and community colleges as he did last year.

"With a $20-billion deficit, we're forced to make devastating cuts across the board, but have proposed to protect education," McLear said. "Education is getting the same amount as last year, and that is $50 billion of our $86-billion budget."

-- Anthony York