In Effort To Avoid State Takeover, VVUHSD To Lay Off 80 Employees

(December 28)   Three months before they were required to do so, the Victor Valley Unified High School District’s board of directors voted to hand out preliminary layoff notices to 80 district employees.
Under state law, teachers and other school district employees must be provided with preliminary notice of their potential layoffs by March 15 and actual notification of their layoffs by May 15 prior to the initiation of the school instructional year in August or September.
The proposed cuts, which have yet to be finalized, include reducing district staff by 37 teachers and eight counselors. The reductions are being made as the district struggles with severe budgetary constraints exacerbated by debt payments.
Bond  debt service payments are outrunning income into the district, according to Michelle McClowry, a fiscal advisor to the district on loan from the county superintendent of schools office. McClowry said that by late March the district will be out of money and will be unable to fully meet its payroll.
Given its encumbrances, the district cannot borrow money at any reasonable rate. With its current rate of spending, the district’s deficit will reach $19 million by June and $51 million by June 2014.
“The magnitude of overspending is so huge that you must deal with it now,” McClowry told the board.  She said the preliminary layoff notices should be sent out prior to efforts to induce the district’s teacher and employee unions to return to the bargaining table where substantial contract concessions are to be requested.
Finances in the district have deteriorated to the point that if the district has not put together a game plan for reducing its deficit spending by February 15, the process of turning the district over to a state receivership will be initiated. District officials said a state takeover would likely result in a curriculum devoted solely to core educational courses with the elimination of most or all electives. Included in the layoff notices were two for teachers in the district’s popular cadet program.
Board member Evelyn Glasper said the district had no realistic alternative to sending out the layoff notices, which were in the mail the week before Christmas.
Board members Barbara Dew and Timothy Hauk said they had not had an opportunity to review the proposed cuts and they voted against making the layoff notices at this point. The motion to send them out passed 3-2.
Under the proposed plan, 35 non-instructional workers including information technology specialists, clerical staff and custodians, will be let go as of April 26. The remainder of the layoffs will come in June.

Leave a Reply