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March 13, 2012 > New Haven School Board briefs

New Haven School Board briefs

Submitted By Rick La Plante

Girding for a worst-case scenario prompted by a projected budget reduction of nearly $11 million, the Board of Education on Tuesday night was forced to authorize the issuing of precautionary layoff notices to more than 100 teachers, classified employees and administrators.

After the latest blow dealt by Sacramento lawmakers to local school districts, New Haven Unified faces a budget shortfall of an estimated $10.7 million for the 2012-13 school year, according to Chief Business Officer Akur Varadarajan. The District has made $15 million in cuts over the past four years.

The District has been forced to notice the equivalent of 77.2 full-time teachers, site and District-level administrators and other District-wide personnel that they might not have jobs in the fall. Those affected include 55.8 full-time equivalents (FTE) among the elementary teaching staff and 14.6 FTE among the middle school teaching staff.

Class-size ratios will increase to 30:1 in kindergarten through second grades and prep classes such as music and science would be in jeopardy, as would library/media services. Middle school electives such as art and music also would be in jeopardy.

In addition, as is standard procedure, the Board released 42 temporary and probationary teachers.

The District also will notice precautionary layoff notices to the equivalent of 31.98 classified employees.

Since 2008, the District workforce has been reduced by nearly 15 percent, from 1,252 to 1,075 FTE. The biggest reduction has been in the administrative staff, which has been reduced by 23 percent, from 84 FTE in 2008 to 65 in 2012. The teaching staff has been reduced by 14 percent, from 710.7 to 611.6 FTE, and the classified staff has been reduced by 13 percent, from 457.3 to 398.7 FTE.

Prior to voting, Board members urged the public to support a measure that the District has placed on the June 5 ballot that would raise approximately $3 million to help mitigate the cuts.

The measure would "support high-quality local elementary, middle and high school education to prepare students for college and careers with outstanding core academic programs in reading, writing, math and science and highly qualified teachers and classified staff," according to the ballot statement, by authorizing a parcel tax of $180 per year, for four years. No funds could be used for administrators' salaries, and exemptions would be available for senior citizens and the disabled. The measure will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

Students, parents, teachers, classified employees, administrators and community members interested in passing the measure are meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the New Haven Teachers Association office, 32980 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Suite 812, Union City. The group is planning a rally and a march from Logan High to the Union Landing shopping center on Saturday, March 31, starting at 9 a.m.

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