Huntington Beach : 68 Elementary Teachers Receive Layoff Notices

Layoff notices have been delivered to 68 teachers in the Huntington Beach-area elementary school district.

The potential layoffs reflect declining enrollment in the schools, said Ocean View School District Supt. Dale Coogan. He added, however, that probably only a fraction of those notified will lose their jobs. "Our best guess is that we will actually lay off 15 to 20 teachers," he said.

Coogan said the number of notices generally exceeds actual layoffs because potential vacancies, caused by teachers moving or quitting before next fall, cannot be accurately forecast.

Enrollment in the Ocean View School District, which includes about half of Huntington Beach and small parts of Westminster and Fountain Valley, has dropped from about 14,000 students in 1974 to a projected enrollment of 8,500 next fall, Coogan said. He blamed escalating real estate prices for the loss of school-age children in the area.

"By and large, the homes in this area just aren't starter homes, in price, for young families with children," Coogan said. "If it hadn't been for the arrival of about 1,000 Southeast Asian children in our district in recent years, this district would be in worse shape than it now is."

The Ocean View School Board earlier this year voted to close four schools this summer, also because of falling enrollment.

"There's been a lot of sadness and a lot of apprehension, and we can certainly empathize with these teachers' feelings (about potential layoffs)," Coogan said.

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