By Jason KUROSU
As part of the Glendale Unified School District’s efforts to weather the storm of the state’s budgetary cuts, the board of education approved the reduction or discontinuance of some teachers in EEELP (Early Education Extended Learning Program).
“This is another one of those troubling areas in which the state government is sending mixed messages,” said GUSD Superintendent Dick Sheehan at the board of education’s meeting on April 3. “I know they’ve pinned a lot on next year’s taxes and a tax increase to save education, but what the public doesn’t realize is that education is going to be cut regardless, it’s just to what extent we’re being cut.”
The school district made similar cuts to EEELP last year, laying off 15 teachers and 17 educational assistants.
“History’s repeating itself,” said Sheehan. “In the government’s budget, [Brown is] cutting EEELP, the extended learning for our preschool students, and child care for after school.”
David Samuelson, assistant superintendent of Human Resources for the district, reported a “worst case scenario projection of a 31.5% cut to full-day preschool and school-age child care and a 17.5% cut to half-day preschool programs.”
Samuelson went on to say, “These cuts will mean a loss of $991,260 to the Glendale Unified School District. This will be a loss of services for 161 to 205 students with a resulting loss of 7.5 teachers, which we call FTE – full time equivalent.”
However, EEELP staff members that receive lay-off notices will be offered opportunities to apply for a behavior intervention assistant position within the district, part of the Special Education programs. The same position was offered to those EEELP members laid off last year.
However, many of those laid off last year were able to retain their jobs before the end of the school year and Samuelson is hopeful that the same trend will occur this year, as the budget cuts are less drastic this year.
“Cuts hurt,” said board of education member Joylene Wagner. “We’re not immune from making the kind of cuts to programs that we truly don’t want to have to make.”
The board later approved the resolution for reducing EEELP, many of the board members indicating they were approving the resolution “with regret.”