Layoffs loom as West Contra Costa school district faces millions in budget cuts

Bay Area

RICHMOND, Calif. (KRON) — Over $47 million in budget cuts — that is what the West Contra Costa County School District is now facing this upcoming school year.

“Every cut is going to impact our teachers and our students,” said Demetrio Gonzales with United Teachers of Richmond. 

A third grader teacher, Gonzales is also president of the United Teachers of Richmond Union.

“Right now we are talking about potentially laying off up to 250 teachers in order to make the deficit,” he said. 

He says the teachers not only blame the state for lack of spending for education.

“We also do blame the district for lack of accountability and management of the funds,’ Gonzales said. 

“On a local level the school district is taking responsibility for its shortcomings,” said Marcus Walton, spokesman for the West Contra Costa Unified School District. 

The West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesperson sums up how the district wound up in such a deep financial hole this way.

“We have had some turn over in our business department and that has led to some concerns about the numbers that we see,” Walton said. 

Hercules former mayor and current city councilmember Dan Romero lays the blame on the desk of School District Superintendent Matthew Duffy.

“That school board currently has every right to let Mr. Duffy go. There is a state agency called Fiscal Crisis Management Assistant Team,” Romera said. “It will not cost the district any money. They should have that. It is a third party entity that looks at the school district.” 

In addition to looking at making sweeping cuts to the education department, the school district will likely have to lay off employees in central administration as well

“You can’t cut $47.8 million out of a school district our size without it impacting the way we provide services to students and their families,” Walton said. 

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