Beverly Hills : Firing Plan Approved

The school board Tuesday approved plans to fire 70 employees--including a computer instructional aide, a foreign language instructional aide and 54 teaching assistants--if a parcel tax to raise money for schools is defeated next month by voters.

The 70 classified employees, representing 35 full-time positions, will join 48 teachers and other employees scheduled to be fired as of June 30 if two-thirds of the city's voters fail to approve the tax proposal, Proposition B, on the June 5 ballot.

The combined cuts will mean the loss of the Academic Decathlon coach, all librarians in the elementary schools and a quarter of the high school's advanced placement courses, said Bernard B. Nebenzahl, chairman of the Yes on Schools Committee.

"How anyone can tolerate cuts of this nature is unbelievable," he said.

"These will be the deepest cuts in the history of the school district," said board President Frank M. Fenton, calling the potential loss of the teachers and teaching assistants a great tragedy for the entire country because of the Beverly Hills Unified School District's symbolic importance to public education.

Opponents of the tax, which would range from $250 to $750 a year on each residential and commercial parcel in the city for the next five years, say more money will not necessarily mean better education.

The schools should concentrate on the basics and can do without music, drama, computer and other "frill" courses, said tax opponent Sherman Kulick, chairman of the Beverly Hills Citizens for Cost-Effective Quality Education.

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