From Modesto Bee on Monday and Wednesday
At a recent Modesto City School Board meeting, big wigs make plans to lay off people and close down schools.
Union leaders called the reorganization a shell game, saying the estimated $2.3 million in savings first presented in January was misleading because many positions were vacant or being paid through different funds. The tweaked plan presented Monday would save about $2 million, according to the district.
Nine of the 38 positions up for elimination are vacant. The plan would create eight positions.
Barney Hale of the Modesto Teachers Association took issue with some of the numbers, saying officials should only count new savings, which he estimated at $1.2 million. Hale said almost twice as much should be slashed from administration.
"I think you need to pass this proposal, but it doesn't go far enough," Hale told trustees.
Flores agreed with Hale, saying he plans on further cuts.
Leaders from the district's classified employees union urged trustees to reject the proposal, also saying the plan doesn't trim enough from the district office, which has the least direct impact on students.
At Sylvan Union School District, the song is also the same, with bureaucrats looking to cut up to 50 positions.
The Sylvan Union Board of Education on Tuesday night approved a plan to lay off 50 employees for the next school year.
In an effort to slash spending by $5 million, Modesto's second-largest school district will increase class sizes and lay off 36 elementary teachers.
Other layoffs include two music teachers, two art teachers, the district's last elementary school librarian, two counselors, the last elementary vice principal, four instructional facilitators and two resource specialists.
Known as certificated employees, they must be notified by March 15 that they may be laid off for next school year. Actual layoff notices go out in May. Classified employees, such as bus drivers and secretaries, can be laid off as late as this summer.
Over the next several weeks, other districts will follow suit, sending out notices of possible layoffs to teachers, counselors and managers by March to cut costs for the third consecutive year.
With about 50 people in the audience, two parents spoke at Tuesday's meeting, one urging trustees to communicate more with the public and keep small class sizes.
"By having 32 students per class in (kindergarten through third grade), I believe we're setting our kids up for failure," said Tina Hansen, a Crossroads Elementary parent. "My priority is keeping teachers sane in their classrooms and letting them reach all their students, and they can't do that with 32 kids."