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Long Beach school district issues pink slips to hundreds of teachers

May 12, 2010 |  9:09 am

The Long Beach Board of Education has voted to lay off 243 employees -- most of them teachers -- at the end of the school year to cut costs.

School district officials say the cuts will likely be the first of several rounds of teacher layoffs that could bleed schools of more than 800 workers.

Chris Eftychiou, a spokesman of the Long Beach Unified School District, said the five-person school board will consider issuing more pink slips in the coming weeks.

The cuts approved Tuesday are part of an effort to cut $90 million from the district’s budget over the next two fiscal years. 

He blamed the layoffs on the state, which provides the school district with 85% of its funding.

“This is a direct result to the state’s ongoing cuts to public schools,” Eftychiou said. “This has forced school districts to make deep cuts that will change how our schools look next year.”

Eftychiou said the district has stripped $100 million from its budget over the last five years, leaving it with an annual operating budget of $715 million.

In March, the district warned about 1,000 teachers, counselors and social workers that they could be laid off at the end of the school year. That number was later reduced to 849. Some of the teachers who received pink slips have requested hearings with the district to protest their layoffs.  

Long Beach teachers picketed outside of Tuesday's board's meeting. Michael Day, president of the Teachers Association of Long Beach, called the cuts "excessive and cruel."

-- Kate Linthicum