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16 Beverly Hills Teachers Receive Layoff Notices

March 17, 1988|JOHN MITCHELL | Times Staff Writer

Sixteen teachers in the Beverly Hills Unified School District were sent layoff notices this week as part of the district's effort to reduce a projected $1.2-million deficit for the 1988-89 school year.

But the layoffs might not happen.

Beverly Hills School Supt. Robert French said the notices were sent because the amount of state funding next year is uncertain and because the district continues to suffer from declining enrollment and increased operating costs.

The notices were issued to beat a March 15 deadline required under the state education code for cuts slated to take effect in September. French said the Board of Education may rescind the layoffs if the district raises enough money.

Mostly High School Cuts

Most of the teacher cuts are in the high school, where the greatest decline in enrollment is expected next year. Layoff notices have been issued to high school teachers in technical arts, home economics, mathematics, art, foreign language, English, science and performing arts. In addition, notices were sent to an assistant principal, a psychologist, two counselors, an elementary school coordinator and a middle-school classroom teacher.

"We hope that between now and May 15, when final notices must be sent, we will be able to rescind all or many" of the cuts, French said.

Beverly Hills, like many other districts, routinely sends out layoff notices as a hedge against budget shortfalls. The 24 teachers who were informed last year that they were being let go were all hired back by the start of school year, said John Scoggin, assistant superintendent of business for the district. "We hope to know soon whether we will be able to rescind the layoffs through attrition and leaves. I suspect we will," he said.

Declining Enrollment

Scoggin said that declining enrollment has been one of the factors forcing cuts in the district's $26-million budget. In recent years, the district's enrollment has declined by about 250 students from 5,020 in 1984 to an estimated 4,773 students in 1988, he said.

The layoffs proposed this year are expected to reduce the size of the district's shortfall by $761,277 in salaries and fringe benefits. French said that additional cuts are under consideration, but those cuts will not be announced until after the district is more certain about its finances.

School board President Fred Stern said the layoffs "reflect the most conservative assumptions. We don't like doing it, but we have to deal with realities, the economic realities of the times."

The district, he said, is expected to receive some of the financial help it needs from the Beverly Hills Education Foundation, which is conducting a major campaign in the community to raise as much as $800,000 for the schools. The foundation, which contributed $1.5 million to the district over the last two years, started the fund-raising drive Wednesday with a dinner-dance and casino gambling night at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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