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Rialto Unified doesn't vote on cuts to support staff
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11:55 PM PDT on Wednesday, March 12, 2008
RIALTO - After hearing pleas from union officials, the Rialto Unified School District's Board of Education decided not to vote to eliminate 67 nonteaching posts, such as clerk typists, nutrition service workers and instructional technology assistants.
The board on Wednesday night also decided not to vote to reduce the days worked by five next year of 31 other positions, including supervisors and directors in maintenance, registration and fiscal services.
Bob McDaniel, president of the Rialto chapter of the California School Employees Association, urged the district to delay laying off the support workers.
"Who will take the place of the instructional technology assistants?" he asked. "You may find out that many of these positions are not expendable."
The district is facing a $21 million budget deficit next year based on declining enrollment and the governor's proposal to gut education spending next year by $4.4 billion. The state faces a $16 billion shortfall next year.
Layoffs for nonteaching support staff follow the district's decision last month to issue preliminary layoff notices to 305 teachers, counselors and school psychologists. Officials from the teachers union say the number has swelled to more than 400 with the 100 substitute teachers who won't be asked back next year and 28 other probationary teachers cut.
The district is required by law to issue layoff notices by Saturday to teachers. For nonteaching positions, they have to give a 45-day notice.
The pink slips issued to teachers made for an emotional meeting with several parents and teachers. Others criticized the officials for eliminating class-size reduction.
"Getting this pink slip ... today was a slap in my face," teacher Nora Emanuel said. "If you do this class-size reduction, you're going to turn us into mediocre teachers."
Several of the board members said they were open to having additional budget workshops with the community.
Superintendent Edna Davis-Herring said she shares the pain of the employees whose jobs may be in jeopardy.