CONEJO VALLEY : 6 Special-Education Jobs to Be Cut Due to Funding Shortage

Six instructional assistant positions in a Conejo Valley preschool special-education program will be cut before the end of the school year due to a shortage of grant funds.

Board members of the Conejo Valley Unified School District voted to eliminate the positions as of April 13 after learning that funds from a $230,000 U.S. Department of Education grant would be reduced by $43,000.

Cutting the six positions will save $9,000 for the Horizon Hills Elementary School program for 112 children mildly handicapped in speech and language.

The school board approved the cuts last week.

The program will continue through the current school year, but the cuts leave officials unsure of the program's viability in the 1992-93 school year.

James Silberberger, director of classified personnel, said the six aides would not be reinstated unless the funding becomes more certain.

The district's special-education program for significantly handicapped preschool students is not affected by the cuts, officials said.

"The main object was not to make cuts that would hurt the effectiveness of the program," said Mary Ann Rapuano, director of pupil services for the district.

Rapuano said the preschool program, for 3- and 4-year-old students, will be run by nine speech therapists and two instructional assistants.

Two of the six assistants who are being cut will be offered similar positions with the district's kindergarten through 12th-grade special-education program, she said.

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