Jack O’Connell, the California superintendent of schools, at a news conference last month.
Our future hopes rest on our most precious resource, our children. We need to afford them every advantage we can but this year is looking bleak. Their educators are looking at cuts that most of us never expected to face. Thousands of teachers will be getting a pink slip at the end of this year.
The districts have no choice, they say, because their usual sources of revenue — state money and local property taxes — have been hit hard by the recession. In addition, federal stimulus money earmarked for education has been mostly used up this year.
As a result, the 2010-11 school term is shaping up as one of the most austere in the last half century. In addition to teacher layoffs, districts are planning to close schools, cut programs, enlarge classes and shorten the school day, week or year to save money.