By Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/21/2011 05:40:18 PM PDT

COLTON – With just more than a week until classes begin, 22 of the 25 elementary school teachers laid off in May have been rehired.

Elementary teachers, who start their year July 28 and begin teaching Aug. 1, were told this week that they had been rehired. Some middle and high school teachers, whose classes begin a week later, will be rehired soon, according to Katie Orloff, spokeswoman for Colton Joint Unified School District.

The district’s school board laid off 72 teachers, counselors and nurses in May to help the district fill what was then a $10.5 million deficit.

Since then, the state has decided to maintain the same level of per-student funding – instead of an expected drop that would have cost the district $7.7 million – and accepted early retirements that are expected to save several million dollars over the next five years.

That led to hopes, fueled by school board comments, that teachers would find out whether they’d be coming back by the end of June, to give them time to prepare lesson plans.

But teachers were just grateful to find out before classes start, according to Karen Houck, president of the Association of Colton Educators.

“We’re very appreciative for the school board and the district recognizing that the students need teachers in the classrooms on the first day of school, and they’re bringing us back just in time,” Houck said. “We hope they would recognize that secondary students need the same support.”

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