State Budget Plan Fails

  • ETUSD Financial Manager Terri Geivet helps Interim Superintendent Mark Fulmer sign five layoff letters on May 13.

    ETUSD Financial Manager Terri Geivet helps Interim Superintendent Mark Fulmer sign five layoff letters on May 13.

School District Lays Off 5 Teachers As Library, Fire, Roads and Sheriff All Prepare for Deep Cuts

By Patric Hedlund

“These are all people we want to keep, people who are doing good work,” Interim Superintendent Mark Fulmer said as he signed letters May 13 to lay off five more El Tejon Unified School District teachers. ETUSD Trustees voted to approve the cuts to meet the looming budget shortfalls for the coming school year. That measure was based on the notion that the May 19 proposals might stabilize the state budget woes.

Then on May 19, California voters refused the interim budget measures. Here’s the way State Superintendent of Public Education Jack O’Connell put it:

“Californians soundly rejected five out of the six statewide propositions on today’s ballot. As a result, California’s budget economic shortfall is deeper by billions of dollars.

“In anticipation of this outcome, Governor Schwarzenegger presented a May budget revision that closes the shortfall with breathtaking cuts to all public services, including education. His plan calls for $1.4 billion in cuts to schools this year and $3.3 billion the next.”

At 5 p.m. on May 19, poll workers at the Pine Mountain precinct said voter turnout was “down 75 percent” from last November’s general election.

Tona Bowen, who serves as Kern County’s poll monitor for the Mountain Communities, said that only about 500 voters had turned out mountain-wide by 5 p.m. Pine Mountain alone had 500 voters in November 2008. On Tuesday May 19 only about 175 people had come to vote by 5 p.m.

Public servants in all sectors are bracing for shockwaves. At the Kern County Parks and Rec Master Plan meeting in Frazier Park May 12, Parks and Rec Diretor Bob Lerude mentioned, “Next fiscal year (July-June), the Parks department has been asked to cut 15 to 33 percent from its budget. The department is in the hole already by $14 million. If none of the propositions on the May ballot pass, this will negatively impact the department another $15-18 million because we all know that the sheriff’s and fire departments are not going to make 15 percent cuts.”

The teachers to whom ETUSD sent layoff letters May 13 are Susan Bates, Denise Carlson, Jessica Glaze, Anna Hughes and Linda Thomason. Continuing on layoff with 39-month rehire rights are Andria Bloom, Andy Ligeti, Angela McHale and Rob Roy.

May 19 Special Election Kern County Results

Proposition                                                   Yes   No

1A ‘Rainy Day’ Budget Stablization Fund    33% 67%
1B Education Funding-Payment Plan         38% 62%
1C Lottery Modernization Act                      36% 64%
1D Children’s Services Funding                  36% 64%
1E Mental Health Funding Budget              35% 65%
1F Elected Officials’ Salary Limits              70% 30%

Avg. Total Votes per Proposition in Kern County = 79,236

See the full results of the May 19 special election.

This is part of the May 22, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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