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Newhall School District lays off 16 teachers

Posted: May 5, 2011 2:35 p.m.
Updated: May 5, 2011 2:35 p.m.

On May 3 the Governing Board of the Newhall School District took action to lay off 16 permanent status general education classroom teachers in response to continuing projected budget cuts. In previous action earlier this year the district laid off 14 temporary classroom teachers. The board also took action to freeze hiring for one open administrative (assistant principal) position for next year.

The board was able to rescind the layoff notices for 26 others who received preliminary notice in March, including 15 general education classroom teachers, five fine arts teachers, and six assistant principals.

"We are happy that we were able to carefully calculate the effect of rising class size and declining enrollment and rescind the majority of layoff notices. And we remain dismayed that we are forced to lay off any employees in reaction to the current budget uncertainty," said Alexis Yannich, assistant superintendent of human resources for Newhall. "District administrative staff will be working every angle to bring back those teachers who have been laid off. This may, however, stretch through the spring months as local negotiations with NTA continue, state budget deliberations drag on, and our staffing needs solidify."

The board also approved a "Fiscal Stabilization Plan" as required by Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). LACOE oversees the financial status of the district and approves its multi-year budget projections. Even though Newhall currently maintains a large reserve, it is decimated the year after next due to the cumulative effect of state revenue cuts. A letter from LACOE, in response to the district's "2010-11 Second Interim Budget Revision," requested "that the District adopt and submit a fiscal stabilization plan that restores and maintains the required reserves for 2012-13."

The plan refers to, among other strategies, the implementation of some or all of the district's "Plan B" which lists the savings from reductions of programs such as class size, fine arts, maintenance, and other specialized funding. Plan B can be found on the NSD website, under the "Budget Crisis" section.

"We are still in difficult times and have no clear picture from the state as we head into our 2011-12 Adopted Budget building process," said Marc Winger, superintendent. "Without clarity we may be forced take further unwanted actions that help us to balance our ‘out year' budgets. However, with a strong reserve we believe we will be sheltered from the brunt of any large cuts as we move into next school year."

"While most of us will be relieved by that thought," continued Winger, "The sixteen permanent teachers and fourteen temporary teachers who have been laid off are uppermost in my mind -- they have already felt the ugly effect of a potentially large revenue cut and declining enrollment. As always, our goal should be to maintain people and programs as we weather the storm."

Fiscal Stabilization Plan
Approved by the Board May 3, 2011

The Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) has completed their review of NSD's 2010-11 Second Interim Financial Report. In a letter to the Governing Board dated April 7, 2011 LACOE requested that the board adopt a fiscal stabilization plan.

Staff submitted for consideration any or all of the following as part of a fiscal stabilization plan:
1. Use of General Fund reserve funds
2. Implement part or all of Plan B expenditure reductions
3. Negotiate further compensation concessions, if necessary
4. Additional State revenue

The district's Second Interim (April) Financial Report indicates that it has a healthy reserve in the current year. The reserve is also adequate for the 2011-12 fiscal year. But the reserve is eliminated based on revenue loss assumptions used in the 2012-13 fiscal year. In order to maintain a 3% unrestricted general fund reserve the District would need to implement all or part of Plan B and/or negotiate further concessions with employee representatives.

Alternately, if the State were to fund a portion or all of the full statutory revenue and cost-of-living next year, or provide other General Fund unrestricted funding, staff would revise budget estimates and determine what, if any, expenditure reductions will be necessary in order to generate the required 3% general fund unrestricted reserve. The "fiscal stabilization plan" will be submitted to LACOE with the district's 2011-12 Adopted Budget in June.


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