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By Collin Breaux

The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees unanimously approved a layoff of 88 employees during a meeting on Wednesday, June 24.

CUSD officials said the decision was necessary, difficult, and not taken lightly.

“I’m aware and our board is keenly aware layoffs affect people and their families,” Superintendent Kirsten Vital said. “We don’t want to do this but we have to do this.”

The layoffs will affect staff who handle behavioral and mental health services, as well as other positions. The layoffs are partly due to restructuring, as well as funding concerns.

An agenda report said staff has “worked to create business efficiencies across the district to streamline and maximize the service to students and staff,” which includes considering “all known attrition that has occurred to date.”

Ways to streamline services have reportedly been identified by district and school site leaders.

“These decisions are incredibly difficult, as outlined in previous discussions,” said Tim Brooks, associate superintendent of human resource services.

The laid-off employees could be hired back if that becomes feasible, according to the district.

Students will still have access to behavioral and mental health services. Members of the public who called in to the teleconference meeting to comment said the laid-off staff provided mental health assistance for students, asked for the resolution authorizing the layoff be removed from the meeting agenda, and alleged a lack of transparency and communication on the topic beforehand from CUSD.

The board’s next scheduled meeting is July 15.

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