Sacramento calling

“ Dang, I got 48,000 texts today …”

“ Dang, I got 48,000 texts today …”

Here’s one way California can help find some long-lost revenue: Turn those state cellphones into hard cash. Several places online offer to buy old cellphones and, as of this summer, California should have a surplus. Gov. Jerry Brown’s ban on subsidized cellphones takes effect for most state workers on June 1. The governor’s office anticipates the ban should save California about $20 million and pull the plug on about 48,000 phones.

Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford explained to SN&R that the governor’s office doesn’t know yet how many actual phones will be collected. In some cases, service with a mobile-phone company may simply be canceled on an individual’s phone. In other cases, phones may be handed over, with their future undecided. Going green is one possibility, Ashford said; that is, not selling them for greenbacks, but donating the old phones to a charitable cause instead. (Hugh Biggar)

Pink slips hurt women

Women are bearing the brunt of this year’s education job losses. According to California Department of Education figures, female educators made up 72.4 percent of the state’s 308,887 public school teachers in 2009. And this year, according to CDE data, female educators could comprise 13,673 of the possible 18,886 school-district layoffs.

In the Sacramento City Unified School District, 325 teachers recently received pink slips, according to spokesman Gabe Ross. Many of these teachers have received such notices going on five years straight.

Traditionally, teaching children is a female-dominated career. The first federal report on the socioeconomic well-being of U.S. women, since John F. Kennedy was president, was released on March 1 and stated that: “Women continue to be concentrated in a small number of traditionally female occupations. In 2009, nearly one-fifth of all women were employed in just five occupations: secretaries, registered nurses, elementary school teachers, cashiers, and nursing aides.”

March 15 was the deadline for local school districts to submit balanced budgets and also to notify employees of possible layoffs—an earlier deadline this year due to a drop in state funding. A partial tally of school districts statewide shows that 18,886 educators had received such notices last week, according to the California Teachers Association.

Gov. Jerry Brown wants a tax-extension measure on the June ballot, which would give voters the option to continue with current tax rates and save some of these public school jobs, according State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. (Seth Sandronsky)

Budget winning!

Three winners were drawn from SN&R’s ‘budget puzzle’ entries (see “OK, you fix the budget!” by Greg Lucas, SN&R Feature, February 17). Kent Nickerson of Rocklin and Mike Doughton and Miranda Fram of Sacramento will all receive gift certificates to local restaurants. Our thanks to the more than 100 readers who participated, offering up multiple ideas for fixing the California’s budget mess. (Kel Munger)