South Bay Pink Slips

More than 100 teachers in a South Bay school district will be notified that they could face layoffs.

The Sweetwater Union High School District plans on handing out the pink slips. By a 3:2 vote, board members approved the plan during a meeting at Sweetwater High School in National City. 

"Just because those people are getting notices doesn't mean there's going to be layoffs," district communications director Lillian Leopold said, adding that state budget problems have left the district in a financial bind.  "We have to make up for a nearly $12 million shortfall in the next school year budget."

The meeting was packed with hundreds of parents, teachers and students who oppose the potential layoffs. 

"It scares me -- I am scared, I do admit it," history teacher Cameron Taylor said. 

Taylor has been with the school district for a couple of years and believes she will be one of the first to be laid off. 

"It makes you feel like you're new and you don't have the years of experience so it's easy to cut you loose," Taylor said. 

Before the meeting began, Taylor and hundreds of other people protested outside Sweetwater Union High School. Inside at the meeting, many people cheered on the speakers who talked about the importance of education for students.  Some teachers said the district should be targeting high-paying managerial positions before taking jobs away from teachers. 

"When it comes to education vs. a big-paying job, I say, 'Come back to the classroom,' " teacher Carol Cusack-McClintock said. 

Board members said dozens of jobs could be saved if the teacher's unions would agree to a 2 percent pay cut. The board has already agreed to cut its pay by the same amount.  Negotiations on that matter are still continuing. 

The district could begin handing out the pink slips as soon as next week.

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