District, teachers reach agreement

Pink slips to be rescinded; P.E. and music saved
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The Loomis Union School District and teachers have approved a labor agreement that cuts pay, but brings back all terminated teachers and programs. Teachers and administrators will be taking a five-percent cut in pay in the form of furlough days, said Paul Johnson, superintendent. According to Robin Parmley, Loomis Teachers’ Association president, teachers agreed to take three additional furlough days for this year and will take a total of 10 furlough days for the 2010-11 school year. Paul Johnson, district superintendent, said administrators and district staff will match the teacher’s cuts and will also take additional furlough days that equate to five percent of their pay. Johnson said three furlough days will be observed this weekend on Friday, May 28, Tuesday, June 1, and Wednesday, June 2. None of the six district schools will be in session those days. Monday, May 31, is a scheduled holiday. According to Johnson, the district will not lose ADA (average daily attendance) funding. Despite the furlough days, the state will still pay for 180 days of school. Johnson said the district will now be able to bring back all teachers who received pink slips. He also said the music and physical education programs will be restored. Parmley wrote in an e-mail to the Loomis News, “In a great show of unity and caring for our district and students, the Loomis Teachers’ Association voted to take deep cuts to keep teachers in the classroom, keep class sizes small and save programs. We are sorry for the student days lost, but it was the only way to meet the districts high demands.” Both Parmley and Johnson said it was a “huge relief” to be done with negotiations. Teachers approved the agreement on Thursday, May 20, and the school board approved it on May 24. Laura Haase, a parent at Loomis Grammar School, said a three-day field trip to Fort Bragg had already been slated for the seventh-graders during two of the furlough days that were assigned. “We were worried that the field trip would be cancelled. However, because we have such awesome teachers, they are still doing the trip,” Haase said. Teacher Melissa McCormick confirmed that she and teacher Kristine Sohrakoff will be volunteers for two days on the trip. For the 2010-11 school year, Parmley said, in addition to the three furlough days already taken, teachers agreed to give up two of their preparation days before school starts and an additional five furlough days during the year. Those days will be determined by June 9. The seven additional furlough days, plus the three existing furlough days, bring teacher and administrator furlough days to 10. Johnson said he appreciates the sacrifices made by teachers, classified employees, administrators and administrative staff. “It’s been a long process and I’m very pleased that we’ll be able to save jobs and programs,” Johnson said. Dustin Fee, a district physical education teacher whose position had been eliminated, described his feelings about getting his job back. “I’m relieved. It was very cool to see the teachers and the community come together to save P.E. I’m very excited to come back for the kids,” Fee said. Cindy Teresi, head of the district music program, said she is “absolutely delighted” that the music program has been reinstated for next year. “It’s a feeling of joy. I’m relieved for these kids for whom music has become so important,” Teresi said. Teresi said initially when music was cut that she was “crying for the students who’ve found music as a place to belong.”