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SLO County Roundup

Atascadero

School leaders plan to lay off seven classified employees next year, the latest in a series of staffing cuts.

The Atascadero Unified School District’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to eliminate or reduce a total of 15 classified positions, district officials said.

Seven people will lose their jobs, including a secretary, a receptionist, a career counselor and two interpreters for the deaf. Four other employees — two accountants and two librarians — will have their hours cut.

Atascadero Unified is also eliminating four vacant positions.

The cuts come two weeks after the board voted to lay off 18 certificated employees, including eight elementary school teachers, four special education teachers and a high school Spanish teacher.

Atascadero Unified faces $3.7 million in potential cuts from next year’s estimated budget of $33 million, due to declining state revenue, dropping enrollment and other factors.

Previous cost-cutting measures have included unpaid furlough days for administrators and management staff and an early retirement incentive program.

Because of reduced staffing hours, the district office will be closed for a total of 10 days during the 2010-2011 school year, the board determined Tuesday.

— Sarah Linn

Cal Poly

Three possible candidates for university president are tentatively scheduled to visit the campus next week.

The names of the candidates and information about them are expected to be announced Friday. They are expected to visit Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Cal Poly and local communities will have the opportunity to meet and hear from the candidates.

A search firm, Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates, was hired to assist in the Cal State University system’s hiring of a new president, CSU spokeswoman Claudia Keith said.

The amount budgeted for the headhunter firm was “not to exceed $87,500,” Keith said.

Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates has a Monterey Park office, according to its website.

Cal Poly president Warren Baker announced in December his plan to retire.

— Nick Wilson

San Luis Obispo

A new law that bans smoking from nearly all public places in San Luis Obispo takes effect today.

Under the new law, smoking is prohibited in indoor and outdoor areas frequented by the public, including sidewalks, parking garages, bars, restaurants, stores, stadiums, playgrounds and transit centers.

Lighting up in outdoor areas is also banned in areas that are within 20 feet of indoor areas.

Exceptions include private residential units and designated hotel rooms, existing tobacco retailers, and outdoor areas in which no nonsmoker is present. Bars that don’t serve food may designate a smoking area located at least five feet from any doorway.

The San Luis Obispo City Council approved the new law in April, following a vote in December to ban smoking in Mission Plaza, the downtown creek area and the city’s parks.

The citywide ban puts San Luis Obispo in the same class with two dozen other California cities that have banned smoking from all areas frequented by the public, including multi-unit residential areas.

San Luis Obispo became the first city in the nation to ban indoor smoking in public places 20 years ago.

More than 100 cities have since adopted more stringent ordinances prohibiting smoking from outdoor recreation areas. Locally, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Morro Bay and Pismo Beach have banned smoking from public parks, beaches, open space, sports facilities, skate parks, biking trails and dog parks.

Police will not actively enforce the smoking ban but may issue citations for violations.

— AnnMarie Cornejo

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