Local News

Mar 11, 2010 9:41 PM by Ariel Wesler

Special education teachers receive layoff notices

Special needs instructors in San Luis Obispo have a big job. They teach adults with disabilities job skills and now they're the latest group to fall victim to the state's budget crisis.

The San Luis Coastal Unified School District has notified ten teachers they could lose their jobs at the end of June. The special program has been a part of the community for more than 40 years.

Spend a little time with Gaye Donovan and you'll understand her passion for teaching.

"Someone needs a lot of one on one with a certain job that's difficult with them or it could be maybe they're having trouble getting a long with their best friend that day," Donovan said.

She's been providing job training for adults with disabilities through a program called Achievement House for more than 20 years.

Ten teachers have been handed these notices, warning them they could lose their jobs and if they do, it would be the first time since the 1970s.

Donovan is one of those teachers and for her students, the relationships extend beyond the classroom.

"It makes me very sad because Gaye's a good person. The teachers help us all," said Liz Boyd, one of Gaye's students.

The program has already been cut by 13 percent and coordinators say the cuts mean losing teachers with valuable experience and expertise.

"I'd be heartbroken, basically. Not a lot of people get to say they really love their job. Well, I do," Donovan said.

If the state can't find more funding, the last day for the teachers would be June 30th. There is a possibility they could work past that date without a contract.

The entire program serves 238 adults with disabilities through the San Luis Coastal Unified School District.

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