Valley School District Hiring Instead of Firing

July 31, 2009 7:05:29 PM PDT
Budget cuts have led to layoffs at school districts all over the state. But one school district in the South Valley is actually hiring twenty teachers.A large increase in enrollment and a higher than expected number of retirees is why the Tulare Joint Union High School District finds itself hiring instead of firing.

Asst. Superintendent Alfonso Gamino said, "We've hired 20 teachers I know most districts around the area are laying off teachers because of the budget but for us we had about 12 retirements

The one-year old Mission Oak High School is gaining a new class, requiring the school to hire on seven more teachers for the new freshmen. New teacher Kynber Gurien says working at the school was a great opportunity.

Kynber Gurien said. "It was something that I definitely gave it a shot but when I got the job I was thrilled because it was anything more I could have hoped for."

Gurien says Tulare is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak job market for teachers.

"I definitely think there's lots of cuts being made but there's also a lot of opportunities out there so you have to be very persuasive and push to make it," said Gurien.

The new hires come at a time when the entire district is making a million and a half dollars in cuts. Every department has been trying to reduce its costs by 20%.

In trying to prevent the district from hiring even more teachers, the high school district board recently increased the student to teacher ratio to 22.5 students per teacher.

Gamino said, "We actually saved about hiring one or two additional teachers we would have had to hire if our ratio had stayed at 22.3 per staff member."

Gamino still has one more teaching position to fill. He expects to fill it before school starts on August 13th.

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