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Furlough days on Castaic schedule

School district makes cuts in face of state budget crisis

Posted: February 26, 2010 10:21 p.m.
Updated: February 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.
The Castaic Union School District has scheduled four furlough days as a way to save money against a growing budget hole, district leaders said Friday.

The first furlough day will be part of the current school year and will take place May 13.

Castaic Union has designated Nov. 12, 22 and 23 of the 2010-11 school year as furlough days.

As the state budget crisis worsens, school districts like Castaic Union, Newhall, Sulphur Springs and William S. Hart Union High have turned to furlough days as a way to save money.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed budget reduces education spending by an additional $1.7 billion.

That would mean an estimated $4.3 million loss from 2007 through 2010-11 for Castaic Union. The district is preparing for at least $1 million in cuts next year.

The four unpaid days off will save Castaic Union roughly $500,000, Superintendent James Gibson said.

The four-school district with about 3,200 K-8 students maintains an operating budget of about $22 million, Gibson said.

The furlough days have been negotiated with management and teachers, Gibson said. If the classified union agrees to the furlough days, the cost-cutting measure would impact 354 employees, he said.

Along with fewer instructional days for Castaic Union students, furlough days will mean a roughly .54 percent salary cut for employees this year and a 1.62 percent salary cut for next year.

The furlough days come as Castaic Union has already increased class sizes and cut back school bus transportation for students and reduced the number of textbooks and library books purchased.

Castaic Union plans to eliminate summer school for the second year in a row, Gibson said.

However, district leaders are considering offering a parent-paid summer school program this year if there is enough interest from Castaic Union parents, he said.

The district has also scaled back its intervention programs for students who need additional academic help.


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