Paso Robles schools send bad news to 69 employees

Teachers aren’t the only school employees losing their jobs in Paso Robles.

As the district continues to slash nearly $8 million, in hopes of reaching a thinned $51.2 million budget, it began sending out layoff notices Tuesday to 69 hourly employees, including clerical and library staff, custodians and bus drivers.

Faced with declining state revenues, the district has already targeted 70 full-time teacher positions for layoffs, and school activities have been cut or eliminated. Despite all those measures, there’s still more to be done — about $750,000 worth — leaving staff wondering what and who will get the ax next.

“It’s bad on morale, it’s stressful, and you have less people trying to do more,” said Kathryn Nay, president of the Classified School Employees Association, who said the past two years have been the worst financially in her nearly three-decade career at Paso Robles Public Schools.

Final word on cuts still awaits news about state and federal budgets. Depending on those results, the district could get more money, meaning some of the employees will be called back, or less, meaning even more cuts would be required.Last year, 62 classified staffers were laid off, but 49 were called back in some capacity.

In addition to this year’s projected actual layoffs, 16 classified staffers will have their hours reduced, causing them to lose benefits. “We have 20-year employees losing medical benefits,” Nay said.

The school board has been reluctant to ask for an $8-a-month parcel tax to help the cause, suggesting teachers and classified staff take voluntary furloughs that would save the district money. Administrators have taken furloughs, but unions for teachers and hourly workers have resisted.

Those who take furloughs and are then laid off would face a double whammy, Nay said.

“It seemed like a gamble,” she said.

Personnel cuts in paso schools

Teachers: Hourly workers: Reduced benefits: