LA Unified sends e-mail telling employees to chill during budget crisis

Tuesday's the deadline for California public school districts to notify teachers they may be laid off. Many districts will send out notices.

L.A. Unified’s also sent an e-mail to employees with tips about handling the stress - and resources for workers who can’t cope.

The one-page letter signed by Superintendent Ramon Cortines advises deep breathing, regular exercise and healthy eating to help ease stress over job anxiety. In an economic downturn, the letter says, a positive outlook is the antidote to discouragement and anger.

Pia Escudero, L.A. Unified’s director of school mental health and crisis counseling, says the district is well aware of the stress felt by employees asked to do more with less.

"We’re trying to take a proactive approach," says Escudero, "that if in fact there is someone out there who needs help, how they can get the help and establish the right resources, and that’s why we’re constantly advertising our employee assistance center, employee service center, employee assistance program and the suicide prevention crisis hotline."

About 7,000 L.A. Unified employees are expected to receive layoff notices. The district’s moving to cut the jobs so it can close a $408 million shortfall in next fiscal year’s budget.

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