Wednesday May 12 2010
More staff cuts coming to Loomis Union School District
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
Classroom aides, maintenance worker added to 18 teachers to receive termination notices
Fifteen classroom aides and a maintenance worker will be pink-slipped as the Loomis Union School District struggles to balance its budget. The school board approved the cuts for the 2010-11 school year at its meeting last week, but tabled the finalization of teacher cuts until after the last mediation session with the teachers union, which was scheduled for May 12. The district has until May 15 to certify the termination of the pink-slipped teachers. Originally, 22 teachers received termination notices. Four of those were rescinded because of teacher retirements, which still leaves 18 teacher positions on the cutting block. “We hope we’ll be able to negotiate a settlement on May 12 that will save teacher jobs,” said Kurt Turner, board trustee. Superintendent Paul Johnson said he regretted the cuts, but also said the district is working with the classified employees’ union to create a retirement incentive package that would save jobs. “Any savings from classified employee retirements will be used to rescind pink slips in that employee group,” Johnson said. The board also approved 10 furlough days for principals and district administrators and nine furlough days for the district staff. “The principals wanted to lead the way by taking cuts. They’ll be working almost two weeks less per year than principals in surrounding districts,” Johnson said. Earlier in the budget process, Johnson said, the board cut car allowances for all district employees and eliminated the assistant superintendent of curriculum position. During the lengthy board meeting on May 6, students, parents and teachers voiced concerns over budget cuts. A number of parents protested cutting the music program. Ben Duncan is the band director at Del Oro High School and spoke of the importance of a good music program. “Music is a living, breathing part of our lives,” he said. Parents and students pleaded to save favorite teachers, save teacher jobs and not increase class sizes. Parent Sue DeGann asked that the district not cut teachers, but said, “There’s been too much fighting, not enough uniting.” Many teachers spoke about the personal hardship a pay decrease would present. Diana Nordin is a new teacher at Placer Elementary School who received a pink slip. She said she already works two extra jobs to make ends meet. “I worked at In-N-Out in college. I’ve applied there again to make $10 an hour,” she said. Nicky Helton is the receptionist as the school district office. She shared her concerns that labor negotiations have created an atmosphere that makes some labor groups in the district feel their positions are more important. “Everyone in the district works hard, we used to work together, no one group is more important than another,” Helton said. “A lot of people were very passionate. A lot of people care about holding on to what we have in our district. We’re not going to give up,” Johnson said.