The Peninsula

Trustees of the Palos Verdes Unified School District have decided to eliminate 39 jobs and a number of educational programs to offset a projected deficit of $1.9 million in next year's $30-million budget. The deficit was largely attributed to a continuing decline in enrollment--about 300 fewer students are expected to register next year--and the resulting loss in state aid.

Layoff notices were mailed to 134 employees on Wednesday, even though only 39 jobs will be cut, to give the district more time and flexibility in determining which individuals will be dropped, school officials said. Seniority will be the basic factor, administrator George Hardesty said, but some newer teachers may be retained if their speciality, such as math and science, is needed in the classroom.

Under state law, the district had a March 15 deadline for issuing notices of its intention to lay off school employees. Few such notices were sent out last year in the South Bay, giving teachers and other school personnel a temporary breather after several years of heavy layoffs.

Hardesty said the Palos Verdes cutbacks will affect teachers primarily, but intermediate school librarians, four of five nurses, psychologists and possibly some clerical workers will also lose their jobs. In past years, later increases in school funding have enabled the district to hire back some employees laid off in initial efforts to balance budgets.

Enrollment in the Palos Verdes district has dropped by more than 7,000 students over the last decade, leaving about 10,600 in the system this year. Six elementary schools have closed and the district plans to shut down the Margate intermediate campus next fall.

However, the rate of decline has slowed since the loss of 600 students in 1982, and school planners are projecting a stable enrollment within the next few years.

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