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BUSD board to decide on potential layoffs
32 positions could be affected
BARSTOW • Despite attempting to minimize teacher layoffs with its retirement incentive this year, Barstow Unified School District’s Board of Trustees will decide on eliminating 32 teaching positions at its board meeting Tuesday.
The bulk of the potential layoffs would come from elementary schools, with 24 teachers in grades K-6 slated to be given initial notices by March 15. According to Jeff Malan, assistant superintendent of personnel, the pink slips are only preliminary layoff notices. School districts can retract the notices until May 15. Teachers will be laid off based on their seniority ranking, he said.
Malan noted that some of the 32 teaching positions are vacant positions; however, he could not specify how many were currently unfilled.
The layoffs are part of the district’s move to slice $2.2 million from its budget, according to Assistant Superintendent of Business Tony Wardell. BUSD must trim its budget for two main reasons, Wardell said: declining enrollment and state cuts to public schools.
Because BUSD’s student enrollment has been shrinking for the past few years, the district projected losing about 150 students this year. In reality, the number turned out much higher, with 350 students leaving the district.
And while 35 district employees, including 15 teachers, took a retirement buyout that will save the district $884,476, it still wasn’t enough to avoid layoffs, according to district officials.
“We were pleased with that,” said Wardell. “Would we have liked to have more? Absolutely.”
The district will have to find more cuts in addition to teacher layoffs to reach $2.2 million and the school board will vote on specific cuts on Apr. 27. Until then, a budget committee will be meeting in closed session to discuss possible cuts.
Budget meetings are not open to the public like they were last year; however, the 17-member group is still made up of a cross section of people, Wardell said. The group includes district staff such as certificated and classified employees, management, parents and community members, said Wardell.
“We’re trying to find resolution with the budget with the amount of money the state has cut,” Wardell said.
During the 2008-09 school year, BUSD aimed to cut $4.1 million from its budget, which included noticing 20 certificated staff members with pink slips and closing Barstow Intermediate School.
The board meeting is open to the public and will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the BUSD district office board room at 551 South Avenue H.
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Breakdown of potential layoffs
• 24 elementary K-6 teachers.
• two junior high school special education teachers.
• three high school special education teachers.
• one junior/high school art teacher.
• one junior/high school computer teacher.
• one elementary band teacher.