Last night the governing board of the Newhall School District rescinded the Preliminary Notice of Layoff for the remaining 20 classroom teachers who were still subject to layoff. Forty-five other notices had been rescinded on March 23rd.
The district was able to do this because of the level of attrition anticipated for next year, including those teachers who chose to retire due to the retirement incentive the district has offered.
In addition, the board rescinded the reassignment/layoff notices given to assistant principals and coordinators.
With the proposed administrative configurations and with some sites contributing funds to the maintenance of assistant principal positions, the district captures a savings of the cost of .7 of an administrative position due to attrition.
Reorganization and downgrading of the coordinator of special projects position in the district office will also occur to save costs.
Administrators said they were still unable to rescind the reassignment/layoff notices for some of the district’s certificated employees including music teachers, counselors, and teachers on 2008-09 temporary contracts, all of whom are paid from the general fund.
PE teachers and a Visual Arts teacher, funded by special grants, are also in this group. These specialist teaching positions are still on the “Plan B” budget reduction possibility list.
If their notices are rescinded they cannot be included in any further necessary budget cuts.
Because of this, staff could not recommend rescinding these notices at this time.
By rescinding the remaining classroom teacher notices board members and administrators made a personnel decision, a political statement, and a significant budget decision.
The Board committed to staffing with class size reduction (CSR) in grades 1-3 at 22:1 and Option 1/Option 2 Kindergartens as currently configured by site, and the maintenance of assistant principals.
The ability to move to 24:1 in CSR, if needed in the ongoing budget crisis, will not be possible in the 2009-10 school year because the ability to lay off additional classroom teachers is no longer available.
If the economic situation worsens, anticipated State revenues fall short, and/or there is a failure in the May 19th election, the district may be called upon to make deeper budget cuts.
By rescinding classroom teacher notices the Board is committing to cut deeper in areas other than classroom assignments, if necessary.
The only unknown mitigating factor in this possible scenario is the amount of unfettered federal stimulus money that might be available to backfill any further local budget reductions.
“We are working towards the goal of having all specialists, counselors, and temporary teachers continue in their assignments next year. We do not want to lose these valuable people and we hope to be able to make final decisions on these programs soon,” said Marc Winger, superintendent of schools in Newhall.