Many financially strapped schools across the country may have to resort to teacher layoffs next year. In California, the numbers are especially severe.
More than 23,000 teachers have received pink slips, which means they may be out of work next fall.
Monday was the state's legal deadline to hand out the notices.
"The schools today are operating on almost $18 billion less than we had anticipated just two years ago," California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said.
However, not all teachers who receive pink slips will lose their jobs. Last year, 10,000 faculty members were re-hired. Still, the possibility of job loss makes it a nervous time for everyone.
"I have to deal with the uncertainty and we still have to get up every morning and make sure that we do the best for our kids," school principal Katie Curry said.
Administrators say this year could be especially rough because, unlike last year, there are no federal stimulus funds.
"This year, we don't have anyone bailing us out and so the kids will lose some part of their education for next year," Santa Clara County Superintendent Chuck Weis said.
The state is considering several last resorts, including a bill that would allow counties to pass higher property taxes with just 55 percent of the vote required, instead of the usual two-thirds.
"It is a sad day for California and yet another telling sign of why our state budget should not be passed on the backs of children and schools," state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, told The Daily Journal in an e-mail.
"I will continue to vote no on all budgets that cut education, lay off teachers, increase class sizes or put the interests of corporations and the rich before the interests of California families," he said.