San Marcos High School ~ Santa Barbara, CA

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San Marcos Community Reacts to SBUSD Budget Cuts, Including Teacher Layoffs

Layoffs, Position Eliminations, Shift Cuts, and More Were Approved

At their last meeting, the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board unanimously approved a budget cut of nearly $2 million that eliminates 11 classified employees, lays off four teachers, and moves eight teachers and counselors to lesser-paying jobs. Around 200 people showed up to the meeting and a record number of public comments were made. Many of those who made public comments voiced disapproval of the board’s imminent decision. This decision was made as contract negotiations between the District and Santa Barbara Teachers Association (SBTA) continue and tensions rise. 

Positions such as Family Engagement Liaisons, Paraeducators, Crisis Care Specialists, and Youth Outreach Workers were eliminated, and there were shift cuts and layoffs for positions such as Bilingual Paraeducators, Campus Safety Assistants, and Curriculum Specialists. 

The board meeting occurred on National Teacher Appreciation Day, a part of the larger Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week. Multiple public comments and signs mentioned how unappreciated the layoffs, position eliminations, and shift cuts made teachers and other staff feel. 

“Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day! I do not feel appreciated,” read one sign.

Here at San Marcos, Campus Safety Assistants were impacted by this decision. Although no layoffs were made, their shifts were reduced by one hour. 

“I am quite surprised that our site was affected by any cuts seeing as how our school has the most reported activity by

San Marcos Librarian and SBTA Secretary Amy McMillan makes public comment in support of keeping the Director of Technology position, which the board later voted to eliminate. (SBUSD)

all local news stations and reporters,” said an anonymous Campus Safety Assistant.

Another impacted position was Director of Technology. San Marcos Librarian and SBTA Secretary Amy McMillan made a public comment that night to urge the board to keep the Director of Technology position, which they ultimately terminated.

“I am very disappointed because we need those positions to have a functioning organization,” said McMillan. 

Various other community members and even organizations have since expressed their thoughts on the situation. For example, the Santa Barbara Youth Makers Market recently posted on their Instagram page about the layoffs.

“We have maintained our silence, yet the time for action is now,” read the caption of their recent post on their account @youthmakermarket. “The current state of the Santa Barbara school system is a disservice to our youth, and decisive measures are imperative.”

At the meeting, school board trustees commented on the gravity of the situation, emphasizing that it was a difficult decision for them to make.

These are not decisions that anyone has taken lightly,” said Board Member Gabe Escobedo. “For those that are affected, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the work that they have done and the commitment they’ve shown to supporting our students.”

San Marcos Government and Politics teacher Charles Clow speaks out against layoffs and other budget cuts. This is one of two public comments he made that night.

As the SBUSD community navigates the aftermath of this decision, SBTA and the school district prepare for their next round of negotiations. On June 12, there will be a fact-finding, where neutral parties will hear from both sides and look at data to give a well-informed recommendation as to how to move forward. If the two parties are still unable to reach an agreement, striking is a possibility for next school year.

“It seems to me like most people have already made up their minds about whether to support that kind of initiative (a strike),” said Government and Politics teacher and SBTA member Charles Clow. “[The board’s recent decision] is just one more data point that will register for those folks who already feel that way.”

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About the Contributor
Noelle Cabrera
Noelle Cabrera, Editor in Chief
Noelle is an 12th grader at San Marcos High School. This is her fourth year on The King’s Page and she is now the Editor in Chief. Journalism is currently her favorite class and she is also a member of the San Marcos Ethnic Studies Club. Outside of school she volunteers with animals, is a member of the Youth Making Change Board and is in the Santa Barbara Chapter of GenUp.
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