Layoffs at Oxnard School District possibly coming next school year

Dropping in enrollment may be to blame

Oxnard school district layoffs

OXNARD, Calif. - Nearly 58 teachers and administrators working at the Oxnard School District could be laid off by next year.

The Oxnard School District's governing board is making big decisions. In a 4-1 vote, the board took the first step toward what might mean layoffs for dozens of teachers and administrators across the district.

“We had some classroom positions, some district teachers on special assignments, six assistant principal positions, as well as a district nurse coordinator,” said Cesar Morales, Oxnard School District Superintendent.

Morales says its a variety of factors that may result in layoffs. The biggest issue is a huge drop in enrollment.

“Over the last three years we’ve had a decline of over 1,000 students in enrollment,” said Morales. “One thousand students is equal to 10 million dollars in average daily attendance revenue which is important for us to keep running the organization.”

Morales thinks lower birth rates and the rising cost of living is behind lower enrollment. For just kindergarten, the number of students is down by 200 children.

“Kindergarten is not a mandatory grade in California,” said Denis O’Leary, the school board trustee. “One question is, are parents opting to not send their children? I don’t know.”

O’Leary was the one vote against possible layoffs.

“We need to go in the other direction,” said O’Leary. “This is completely going backwards.”

O’Leary suggested the cuts should come from three school resource officers who work on 21 campuses. Those positions cost nearly $450,000 a year.

“I opposed of spending that money because the police department should serve us without the school district putting funds on top of what the city already provides,” said O’Leary.

Rules from the state are also squeezing the budget.

“We have had an increase in cost related to state wide pension increases for both classified and certified employees, also there has been an increase in our investment to our special education program over the years. That is also a factor,” said Morales.

The vote was taken last week because the district must let teachers and administrators know if they face potential layoffs by March 15. If it becomes final, the layoffs wouldn’t take place until next school year.

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