SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Amid a statewide talk of extra school funding and a push to re-open schools, some Sacramento-area districts may be battling budget cuts.

That includes preparing the pink slips for teachers and school staff, and some say the pandemic is to blame.

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The Sacramento City Teachers Association said Sacramento City Unified is considering cutting more than 130 teachers after the school board approved that many pink slips ahead of possible lay-offs. In Placer County, those slips are already going out to staff.

“Am I going to have a job or am I going to be in that limbo for another year?” Travis Mougeotte, president of the Rocklin Teachers Professional Association, asked hypothetically, speaking on behalf of several teachers wondering where they stand.

The question is in the minds of many educators as a March deadline for layoffs looms ahead. The Rocklin Unified School District has already started preparing the pink slip for close to 30 school staff members.

“In a district of about 600 people, that’s a very noticeable number on our campuses,” said Mougeotte.

A similar situation in Sacramento, where the Sacramento City Teachers Association approved more than 130 pink slips for teachers alone, and close to the same amount for other school staff. Though the questions of if, who, and why remain to be answered.

Rocklin Unified told CBS13 the pandemic is to blame as their reason for letting teachers go, citing lower than usual enrollment. That drop in numbers, a district spokesperson said, makes adjusting staff ratios necessary.

Mougeotte wonders if it’s the right move.

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“I don’t know that the message of we’re going to have larger class sizes and fewer teachers is the way to recruit students back to the district,” he said. “If there’s a lot of concern about learning loss, which the state involves with some large money contingencies to put plans in place to address it, wouldn’t it be a good use of our money to keep smaller class sizes and keep those people?”

It’s a different scenario in Elk Grove, though. The biggest district in the Sacramento area continues to hire a couple hundred new staff members.

“We’re very fortunate. A little bit down – but pretty much on par for where we need to be,” said Xanthi Pinkerton, the Elk Grove Unified School District’s spokesperson.

But news of possible layoffs comes as a shock to families like Corina Gilette’s, who fears losing a teacher in an already uncertain time.

“That’s scary – cause we really need our teachers,” Gilette said.

CBS13 also reached out to several school districts. Stockton Unified said there are plans to lay off some teachers due to a “significant decline in enrollment caused by the pandemic.” The district is also navigating a $22M structural budget deficit.

San Juan Unified and Lodi schools say they don’t plan to layoff teachers, but other districts did not respond to calls or emails by the time this story was filed.

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Districts must notify teachers by the state’s March 15 deadline if their jobs are in jeopardy.

Heather Janssen