By Monica Rodriguez Staff Writer
Created: 04/14/2011 09:52:55 PM PDT

POMONA – For some employees of Pomona Unified School District, the notices that they may not have jobs next school year came earlier this year.

The same news will soon be going out to a large group of classified employees.

The district’s Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday night to authorize district administrators to distribute 45-day layoff notices to about 185 classified employees.

Employees will receive letters within a week notifying them their position could be eliminated for the coming school year, said Steve Horowitz, the district’s assistant superintendent of personnel services.

In the letters, affected employees will also learn if they are eligible to move into another position within the district or if they will be placed on a list of people who could be called back within 39 months if positions become available, Horowitz said.

During the meeting, Richard Valenzuela, the president of the Pomona chapter of the California School Employees Association, said his organization’s membership plays a critical role in the education of students, yet it fails to get the recognition it deserves.

The contributions of classified personnel are just as important as those made by teachers, he said.

“We are the nuts and bolts of this district,” Valenzuela said.

Classified personnel are an integral part of students’ educational experience, assisting and interacting with young people regularly, he said.

Laying off such a large number of classified personnel will affect the academic progress students have been making, Valenzuela said.

“Who is going to do the job?” Valenzuela asked. “Every year, we’ve been asked to do more with less and less and less.”

Valenzuela urged board members to make cuts in other areas.

“Let’s get rid of the unnecessary spending, the wasteful spending,” he said, adding attending conferences and seminars should be postponed.

Board member Andrew Wong said he favors cutting conferences and seminars, but a number of those are paid for with money that is not in the general fund.

School board members authorized issuing notices for people in 201 positions, but because some of those positions are vacant about 185 people will receive notices, Horowitz said.

Among the affected employees are 54 child-development aides along with clerical, technical and custodial personnel.

Superintendent Richard Martinez said legislators in Sacramento have not addressed the state’s budget problems, creating a fiscal crisis for those in local government.

“This has made the state financial mess ours – a local one,” Martinez said.

Even in the midst of a fiscal crisis, the district must produce a balanced budget, he said.

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