70 county teachers' jobs could be saved with federal bill approved Tuesday

The federal teacher jobs bill approved on Tuesday could provide enough money in San Luis Obispo County for about 70 teaching positions, said county schools Superintendent Julian Crocker.

Crocker said it may be about two weeks before local education officials know exactly how much money will be distributed, and how it may be divvied up among the county’s 10 districts.

Rep. Lois Capps, who voted in favor of the measure, said in a news release it will provide $19.1 million to fund 268 teaching jobs in California’s 23rd Congressional District, which covers parts of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. It passed the House by a vote of 247-161.

Crocker said that if the money was distributed similarly to the federal stimulus funding money, San Luis Obispo County could receive about $5 million. Lucia Mar, the county’s largest school district, could receive about $1.5 to $2 million, he estimated.

“We do not have any kind of official information about how the money is going to be distributed,” he said. “However, this is certainly good news.”Jack O’Connell, the state superintendent of California schools, lauded the legislation in a news release.

“In California, 16,500 teaching positions could be saved or created by approval of this urgently needed package, according to the U.S. Department of Education,” he said.

Mike Heyl, a member of the California Teachers Association from San Luis Obispo, also praised the bill. In a news release from Capps, he said: “This bill is critical for the economic recovery of Central California and beyond. By saving jobs, it has a ripple effect on job creation and local economics.”

-- Cynthia Lambert