The Victor Valley's largest single employer is continuing to shed employees.


The Hesperia Unified School District school board voted Monday night to send pink slips to two counselors along with reducing the work days of 100 other employees, most of them principals, assistant or vice-principals or district office directors and managers. The 100 employees' time is being cut through a mix of furlough days, freezes in annual salary increases (something most employees in the HUSD and most other public school districts have gotten as a matter of course) and a reduction of the health benefits cap.


The board approved the reduction and eliminations of services by a 4-1 vote, with board member Chris Bentley dissenting.


According to the district's business services staff, the move is expected to save the HUSD $1.6 million. The district, which receives the lion's share of its funding from the cash-strapped state of California, is currently facing a $13 million deficit, as the state cuts education funding to close its own budget gap. The Golden State is estimated to be facing a $20 billion deficit.


Monday's cuts follow 94 teachers being told in February that their services might not be needed in the 2010-2011 school year. State law requires that public school districts notify teachers by March 15 if they could be laid off. Other employees, including those laid off at this month's meeting, only have to receive notice 45 days before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.


The district is continuing to negotiate with the two unions that represent 90 percent of HUSD employees, in an attempt to come up with ways to trim the budget so that pink slips already approved, and those to come in future meetings, will not end up going into effect.


The next regular meeting of the HUSD school board will be held on April 5 at 6 p.m. in the HUSD Educational Support Center Annex, 15576 Main Street.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star