The Walnut Valley Unified School Board of Trustees announced late today they will rescind all 24 teacher layoff notices effective immediately.
“We have been working very hard to prevent any teacher layoffs and doing everything we can to save jobs,” Board President Larry Redinger said through a written statement.
Officials said the number of staffers who took an early retirement, approved by the board on March 21, made it possible to stop the layoffs.
The District was forced to issue the preliminary notices before the required March 15 deadline due to the ongoing state budget crisis, district officials said.
However, like so many other districts, Walnut Valley must develop a contingency plan in the event the Governor Jerry Brown’s initiative, to increase the sales tax and raise levies on upper incomes to help raise money for schools and balance the state's budget, does not pass in November.
If it fails, the impact in Walnut Valley will be over $5 million, district officials said
This amount is in addition to the $4 to $5 million in reserves the district is currently spending each year.
“In order to stay focused on our primary objective which is the teaching and learning everyday of our nearly 15,000 Walnut Valley students, our Board is committed to fiscal solvency,” Redinger said.
“We knew that we had to decrease our payroll which amounts to about 90% of the district budget. Offering this retirement incentive will allow our veteran teachers who have served our students so well to begin their well-deserved retirement. Simultaneously, our newer teachers, some of who received layoff notices, will not face unemployment. We haven’t solved all of the fiscal challenges in Walnut Valley, but this is a good start,” he said.
“This announcement is especially meaningful today, as we have celebrated our commitment to our outstanding teachers during this week’s Teacher Appreciation Week,” said Superintendent Dr. Dean Conklin.
“We so appreciate our teachers not just this week, but every day for their dedication and commitment to our students. This has been a very difficult time because we feel that Walnut Valley teachers are the best in the state. Today is a day to honor our retiring teachers and celebrate education in Walnut Valley!” he said.