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Banning School Board to Re-Visit Vote on Preliminary Layoff Notices for 50+

The district is facing a budget shortfall and must cut $3.6 million in 2012-13 to maintain fiscal solvency, according to the county superintendent of schools.

The Banning Unified School District board of trustees voted 5-0 last week to approve preliminary layoff notices for 52.8 teaching and counseling positions, but they will re-visit the vote Tuesday night at a board meeting at the district office on West Williams.

"The board did vote, but due to legal protections we have re-do it," Board member Alex Cassadas said Tuesday afternoon. "We have re-vote tonight. The last meeting was not properly noticed. The metting tonight will be at the district office starting at 7 p.m."

The potential staff reductions are listed in Resolution 11-12-36, which was revised before the board voted on it Thursday March 8, said Gordon Fisher, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Instruction & Assessment.

The Banning school district is so strapped financially, the Riverside County Superitendent of Schools recently determined "the district is no longer a going concern."

The district "may not meet its financial obligations for the current or two subsequent fiscal years," Riverside County Deputy Superintendent of Schools Paul Jessup said in a recent letter to Banning Superintendent Lynne Kennedy.

"The multi-year financial projections indicate a substantial budget shortfall of $3.6 million in 2012-13," Jessup said in the letter. "This amount corresponds to 10.0 percent of projected total expenditures and uses, or 12.1 percent of projected salaries and benefits in 2012-13, and assumes flat revenue limit funding. Absent any mitigating measures, the district projects to end the 2012-13 fiscal year with a negative unrestricted General Fund balance of $2.4 million."

To maintain fiscal solvency, the Banning board of trustees must make budget reductions of $3.6 million in 2012-13 and $9.2 million in 2013-14, Jessup said.

"These amounts correspond with the fund balance shortfalls identified in the multi-year financial projections, and amount to roughly 10.0 and 24.0 percent, respectively, of current year projected total expenditures and uses," Jessup said.

"To look at the options that we have, and that was the first step," Banning Board of Trustees president Ray Curtis said Thursday. "We have a March 15 deadline. "We have different things to look at. Temporaries, basically every year they are not re-elected. Probation people. Every year, probes ones or twos, those are part of those 56. So that's a given.

"Now, we come to the layoffs. Now there you get into your financial thing. Declining enrollment. We calculate how many teachers we need to meet student needs. And therefore we did a preliminary calculation of X amount of teachers, and basically we hope we don't have to use that.

"But we do have probably more on there than we need. But we had to be prepared. Nothing is final until May. This preliminary action to notify individuals of the potential reduction in force. . . . Every district in the state is going through this."

On Thursday, Cassadas said the vote was to give notice of potential for layoffs, not to terminate anyone.

"The vote that we cast was on the notice to give notice, the potential for layoffs, the pink slips. Not saying you are fired, saying you may get fired, and that goes into negotiations with the BTA and CTA to see how far they want to take it, depending on class size," Cassadas said. "That's how it goes.

"The revision that we made was on the actual bumping of special circumstances. What was happening is they took out added features, anybody that had a special classroom. The only group that is somewhat protected is the dual immersion."

The are the first significant job cuts to come before the Banning Unified School District trustees since Curtis, Cassadas, and board member Larry Ellis, , were elected in November.

The Banning Unified School District offices are at 161 W. Williams St., Banning.

Diogenes March 14, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Education has taken cut after cut during this recession. We can't balance the State budget on the backs of children. The testing industry has not been hurt by cuts, they are still a multi-billion dollar industry supported by our taxes! Parents as taxpayers need to take a stand and tell the Legislature that if they'd don't fund our schools, we will not let our children take the state tests in the spring! http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-governor-brown-and-the-california-legislature-to-restore-funding-to-california-s-public-schools-or-parents-will-boycott-all-state-tests#
Ronbo 1290 March 14, 2012 at 05:12 AM
I have been informed teachers cannot tell parents they have the option to stop their children from testing so how are the parents suppose to find out about their rights regarding this subject?
Diogenes March 14, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Ronbo, the law says district employees cannot solicit or encourage parents to opt out... however, a teacher may inform parents that opting out of the test is their right... so long as they do not encourage them to opt out. My suggestion is to find a parent or a non-district employee who is upset about these horrific cuts to education and enlist them to spread the word. Just to be safe.
Nancy Gall March 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM
How much of Banning's famed administrative fat has been cut? Not one classroom teacher should be cut until that is taken care of.

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