Merced City School District cuts 50 jobs

MERCED, Calif.

The cuts approved by the Merced City School District weigh heavily on the minds of all its employees.

Kindergarten Instructional Aide, Christina Cano said, "For me, I'm always wondering am I gonna have a job next year? What am I gonna do? I have three kids of my own, teenagers. This budget, this economy, it's not easy to raise a family."

Board members say they felt that pain as they voted to cut 48 teaching positions and two assistant principal jobs Tuesday night. Their decision also increased third grade class sizes from about 25 students to 28.

Adam Cox said, "I truly felt bad for the people begging not to increase class sizes, begging for their jobs."

Adam Cox says the board gathered input from parents, students, teachers, and staff before approving the cuts, which will not be necessary if temporary state taxes are extended.

Cox said, "We have to go with the worst case budget scenario that we're losing millions of dollars next year. So that's kind of what keeps me going realizing that hopefully in the end the teachers, the staff that are receiving pink slips won't actually be let go."

District officials also point out at least 20 teachers plan to retire, and 17 of the positions are temporary employees.

Greg Spicer said, "Our expectation is that all of the tenured, certificated, employees will have a job in the fall."

Still, Christina Cano says she feels for those temps who are often the first to receive pink slips. "Yeah, and they're having to go from job to job, different schools."

The Merced City Teachers Association president tells Action News he appreciates that the board listened to certain suggestions made by its members. But he had hoped to see cuts in other areas, away from the classroom.

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