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Budget Cuts May Force 10,000 Layoffs Next Year, California

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Teachers Warned By Peter Schmidt

Some 10,000 California teachers have been warned that they may be laid off next year as districts feel the impact of state budget cuts.

Layoff notices were sent to the teachers this month as districts braced for a $2.1-billion cut in state aid to schools proposed by Gov. Pete Wilson in response to a projected $10-billion gap in the state budget.

Not all of the teachers sent the notices will actually be laid off. Districts sent the notices because they generally are barred from canceling the contracts of certified teachers who were not notified by March 15 of the preceeding school year.

"These are not done deals," said Susie Lange, a spokesman for the state education department. "They are based on the budget as proposed by the Governor, which has not even begun to be acted on by the legislature."

The districts sent out notices based on "worst-case projections," Ms. Lange noted.

Nonetheless, Ed Foglia, president of the California Teachers Associ4ation, asserted that the layoffs "are going to happen to a large degree" if the budget cuts proposed by Governor Wilson go through.

In addition, thousands of temporary teachers and other school employees received layoff notices this month, and many more could be told of cuts before the deadline for notifying noncertified school employees expires in June, c.t.a. officials said.

Moreover, union officials explained, any school district that does not receive an increase next year of at least 2 percent over its current budget will have another 60-day window in which to send layoff notices to teachers.

Mr. Wilson's proposed cuts in school aid are contingent on the suspension of Proposition 98, which guarantees public schools a minimum of about 40 percent of the state budget.

Although the Governor appeared this month to be making strides in gaining the two-thirds majority of the legislature needed to suspend Proposition 98, the c.t.a. and other education groups have vowed to resist his efforts.

Layoff notices were sent by districts to about 2,100 teachers in Los Angeles, 700 in Fresno, and 860 in Richmond, which is seeking an emergency infusion of state aid in order to avoid bankruptcy.

San Diego, the state's second-largest district, did not send any layoff notices to its 6,000 teachers. But it did notify about 50 school nurses, 20 counselors, and 65 clerical and maintenance workers, according to a district spokeswoman.

"The one thing we have tried to do is stay away from the classroom,'' said George Flanigan, the district's director of certified personnel.

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