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25 school employees to receive pink slips
TUSD Trustees approve budget cut suggestions
Over 50 teachers stand up holding their pink slips at Tuesday’s Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting to put a face to the layoff notices sent out a week before the March 15 deadline. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal

TUSD Classified Positions Receiving Pink Slips

# of positions    Department
2                    Custodians
2                    Campus Supervisors, secondary
1                    Student Welfare and Attendance Asst.
1                    Maintenance Worker
1                    Dispatcher/School Bus Training Officer
5                    Para-professionals — Special Education, non-severe
5                    Para-professionals — Special Education, severe
1                    Secretary II
1                    Technical Support Specialist
3                    Library Technicians
2                    Secretary III
1                    Secretary I

25 total employees to receive pink slips.   

In March, the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees voted to send tentative layoff notices to 76 teachers. At Tuesday’s board meeting, the trustees voted to pink slip an additional 25 employees, along with adopting a list of budget cut suggestions in an effort to balance the district’s budget.
The 25 layoff notices are being sent out to custodians, campus supervisors at the secondary level, a student welfare and attendance assistant, a maintenance worker, a dispatcher/school bus training officer, a technology support specialist, para-professionals in special education, library technicians and secretaries, according to district reports.
“The history of the district can tell us where we are going, and since 2003, the district’s financial situation has gotten better,” said Kyle Harvey, representative for the California School Employees Association. “The sky isn’t falling as of yet.”
Layoff notices sent to the 25 classified employees are subject to negotiations and are tentative, said Heidi Lawler, TUSD director of human resources. If the 25 employees are expected to be terminated, an additional notice will be sent out.
Additionally, the Board of Trustees approved the Budget Advisory Committee’s list of budget cut recommendations for the priority one list totaling a savings of $4.3 million and the priority two list totaling a savings of $2.9 million.
The first priority list of reductions retains Medi-Cal Administrative Activities of $1.9 million, a freeze in step and column raises for all employees for $1.15 million, reduced salaries or benefits by a set percentage, eliminates GED testing, reduces or eliminates mileage stipends, reduces school site and district office department allocations by 10 percent, reduces restricted maintenance contributions by 10 percent and increases portion of assistant principal salaries paid by categorical funds, according to district reports.
The second priority list of reductions “are intended as back up recommendations in the event that agreement can’t be reached on the negotiable items on the priority one list or that the budget situation worsens with the State’s May Revise,” according to district reports.
Items on the second priority list include charging transportation fees for students participating in athletics and extra-curricular activities, reducing or eliminating school resource officers, eliminating cash out of health cap for new employees, increasing the class size for kindergarten up to third grade and increasing the class size by one student per class for fourth grade up to 12th grade, according to district reports.
Over 100 people awaited the board’s verdict on Tuesday night about where the budget cuts will be made, including many who were still upset about the board’s March 2 vote to send out 76 pink slips to teachers.
“Dr. Da Marto said that you can’t pay your electric bill with your savings, but I say that if you have a big enough savings that you can,” said Julie Shipman, president of the Turlock Teachers Association.
Shipman asked the trustees why they were cutting jobs while the district still has so much in reserves.
The TUSD reserves were at 14.7 percent after the 2008/2009 school year.   
For the 2010/2011 school year, the district has on-going deficit spending of about $4 million that will be taken out of the reserves, leaving 12 percent with additional cuts of $3.9 million coming from the lack of funding on the state level and a decrease in enrollment, said Lori Decker, TUSD chief financial officer.
The budget cut suggestions approved at Tuesday’s meeting are expected to cover the $3.9 million in cuts from the priority one list of suggestions with the priority two list of suggestions made as a back up just in case more cuts are made from the state level.
“To think we have all kinds of money and we don’t have a problem. . . I am sorry, but I wish that was the case,” said Frank Lima, president of the TUSD Board of Trustees. “We are asked to do more with less but we have to do everything we can to keep the train going in the right direction. We can’t give up and no one is giving up here.”
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.