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Letters to the Editor published March 11, 2009
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All reacting calmly to CUSD crisis

Editor, Ceres Courier,

As president of the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on our district's response to the passage of a state budget that dramatically reduces education funding through 2009-10. With California's per-student funding already near rock bottom for the nation, school districts are struggling to bear these latest cuts. Recently, much has been made in the media of local school boards faced with the difficult task of laying off employees and cutting valuable programs.

At our Board meeting on March 5, my fellow Board members and I also faced this difficult task. However, in a district of more than 12,000 students and approximately 1,500 employees, only 15 certificated and four classified employees are receiving layoff notices. We are extremely hopeful that, through attrition, these employees will still be working with us next year.

While even one job lost is too many, I am extremely proud of the manner in which district staff worked together with our unions, the Ceres Unified Teachers Association and California School Employees Association, to minimize the human impact. These diverse groups took up a common goal of putting people first - students, staff members and families - clearly illustrating how teamwork benefits the greater good. In addition, by declining to respond to rumors and speculation until a State budget was in place, the leadership of Ceres Unified demonstrated both responsibility and compassion. Staff spent hundreds of hours to make certain that we did not over-issue layoff notices, recognizing that "pink slips" are devastating to families.

I am privileged to be part of such an exceptional school district, and thankful for the bright, talented, committed individuals who comprise both our student body and staff.

Teresa Guerrero,


CUSD Board of Trustees