Because some of those positions are now vacant, the total number of people laid off will be about five. The move comes as district staff attempts to whittle $3.6 million from its budget after the state decreased funding.
The cuts to classified staff, which include employees like maintenance workers and yard duties, are just the latest in a line of cost-saving measures that have included 10 teacher layoffs and the closure of Rising Sun Elementary School. The classified layoffs are the last large piece of the financial puzzle, and district staff estimates it puts them close to the $3.6 million they were looking to trim, said Assistant Superintendent Steve Menge.
The exact cost savings from the classified cuts will be calculated in the coming days, Menge said.
The school board still needs to accept the agreement before it becomes official. District staff expects them to do that at its next meeting May 18.
At Monday’s meeting, classified union president Gloria Pinedo announced her members passed the new agreement by almost 100 votes.
At the board’s previous meeting April 20, board members voted 4-2 to eliminate 23 classified positions, which would have resulted in about 10 layoffs.
At the time, some of the board members who voted in favor of the cuts said the district needed to move quickly to avoid missing their legal deadline to lay off any classified staff.
The decision made Monday night means five of those 10 will not be let go.
Pinedo said she’s happy with the outcome but did characterize negotiations as contentious.
“We were set aside because they wanted to deal with the teachers first,” Pinedo said.
Still, by the end of it all, she said they got a fair deal and thanked everyone involved on both negotiating teams.
District staff decided they did not need to make all the layoffs they initially recommended because classified employees agreed to pay reductions in the form of five fewer work days.
An almost identical situation happened when the district negotiated with the teachers union. The board voted to lay off about 30 teachers because of a legal deadline but ultimately laid off only 10 after teachers agreed to work three fewer days.
However, both agreements are good for only one year. With no indication the state will increase funding and the very real likelihood that funds could be cut even more, the district and the unions may find themselves in the same situation this time next year with even more cuts to make.
• Contact John Saiz at 892-6187 or email@example.com.