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Saugus Union teachers, administrators to take 6 furlough days

Posted: May 10, 2012 6:40 p.m.
Updated: May 10, 2012 6:40 p.m.

Saugus Union School District employees will take six unpaid days off next school year as a way to save the cash-strapped school district $1.6 million, officials said Thursday.

The six days will go into effect for the upcoming 2012-13 school year, Superintendent Joan Lucid said. The school year will remain at 175 days.

The district is still in negotiations with its classified employees, while teachers and management have agreed to six-day furloughs.

Each furlough day generates about $278,000 in savings for the nearly 10,000-student elementary school district.
"I just want to make sure we're doing everything we can to meet the needs of our kids," Lucid said.

Earlier this year, the school district faced a $6.7 million deficit, but through cuts and layoffs, the district is about $200,000 short.

School districts must adopt 2012-13 fiscal year budgets before July 1, and local educators are waiting on Gov. Jerry Brown's "May Revise" budget to get a better sense of how the state will fund public education next year.

Over the last five years, Saugus Union has faced declining enrollment, which creates a reduced demand for teachers. Saugus Union is also on the bottom of the list among Southern California school districts in per-pupil funding.

The school district earned $5,016 per student during the 2010-11 fiscal year, while other Southern California school districts earned $300 to $400 more per student.

The furlough-days agreement comes just days after Saugus Union board members decided to pink-slip 79 teachers.

Next school year the district will increase K-6 classes to an average of 30 students from the current average in the low 20s per class. Other local school districts had gradually increased class sizes in recent years, while Saugus Union held off on the unpopular move.

Lucid said out of the cost-cutting decisions, laying off teachers has been the greatest challenge.

"I've watched them become these amazing teachers, just as I've watched all of our teachers grow," Lucid said. "It's hard when we know they have so much to offer and we don't have the fiscal resources."




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