VVUHSD Imposes Employee Salary & Benefit Cuts To Prevent State Takeover

VICTORVILLE—Over the objections of a handful of teachers, the Victor Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees approved three percent cuts in the contracts for classified and management employees.
Those reductions are being made as administrators are working to stave off a state takeover of the cash-strapped district.
The four percent downscaling of the district’s certificated personnel, i.e., teachers, was greater than the three percent paring done to management and groundskeepers, secretaries, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, librarians and instructional assistants, prompting protest from some of the teachers.
Superintendent Elvin Momon called the reductions “painful” but necessary.
“I ask each of you to stand with me, the administration and our board of education to problemsolve, collaborate and fight with every ounce of energy and integrity the challenge of state takeover,” Momon pleaded in a letter to district employees last week.
In addition to the 4 percent salary cut teachers are sustaining, they are also having a 30 percent reduction in sick days and a 40 percent reduction in bereavement time off being imposed on them. The district has also upped the teachers’ contribution toward their medical visit and prescription coverage.
Teachers bemoaned that they, more than the district’s other employees, are bearing the onus of the district’s pay and benefit reductions.
The board voted 4-1, with Timothy Hauk dissenting, to implement the contract changes, which will last, at least until June 30, 2015.
The cuts will apply only to those district employees who are still working for the district after the end of the current school year. Just before Christmas, the school board voted to hand out preliminary layoff notices to 80 district employees, including 37 teachers and eight counselors as well as 35 non-instructional workers including information technology specialists, clerical staff and custodians. The non-instructional staff will be let go as of April 26. The remainder of the layoffs will come in June.
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.

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