MISSION VIEJO : Job Notices Sent by School District

The Saddleback Valley Unified School District has sent out preliminary layoff and reassignment notices to 27 employees, including counselors, teachers and librarians.

The notices were delivered to the employees before a state deadline requiring school districts to notify employees of possible layoffs or reassignments by March 15.

Only two of the workers who received notices face possible layoff. The remaining 25 face the possibility of being reassigned to another position within the district.

Intermediate and high school counseling specialists will be hit hardest if the reassignments are completed in the next two months. These employees deal with students who are at risk of dropping out of school and assist students with college entrance requirements.

Two of the guidance specialists could be laid off, while eight other specialists could be reassigned to regular teaching positions. Reassignment notices also were sent to nine elementary school music teachers, four high school librarians, two elementary reading specialists, a technology specialist and an academic excellence coordinator.

If these positions are eliminated, the district would save about $927,000, said David Baker, the district's assistant superintendent for human resources.

"We're not real pleased with having to sacrifice programs and reassign these people," Baker said. "But this is a worst-case scenario. The school board has to keep its options open. They have to notify people by March even though they won't know until July what the budget will be."

Baker said that district officials are bracing for the worst and are fearful that these layoffs and reassignments will probably happen. Final layoff or reassignment notices for certified positions must be issued to employees by the district by May 15.

In 1991, Saddleback laid off 91 teachers, but the district ended up calling all but one of them back to their jobs.

"Last year when we sent out layoff notices, the state budget came back better than we had anticipated," Baker said. "We don't get the feeling that the same thing will happen this year."

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