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Walnut Valley Unified Avoids Teacher Layoffs

As around 19,000 teachers statewide received preliminary layoff notices this year, Walnut Valley School District managed to avoid layoffs altogether.

Over 19,000 California teachers stand to lose their jobs next fall, according to the California Teachers Association, but none are in the Walnut Valley Unified School District.

Superintendent Dean Conklin said that savings needed for next year would have meant about 60 to 80 layoffs, but said that was "not a direction [the district] wants to go."

"To move forward with layoffs, we would run the risk of becoming an ordinary district," Conklin said. "We don't want to do that. We are an extraordinary district." 

It is mandatory for school districts to issue preliminary layoff notices to teachers and classified staff by March 15, in anticipation of the next school year. Walnut Unified did not issue any notices before that date. 

School Board President Cindy Ruiz said the district has a balanced budget for the 2011-2012 school year, but further cuts could be in store if a series of income, sales, and vehicle taxes are not extended on a June special election ballot. 

The tax measure would first need to make it onto a special election ballot in the legislature, and that is still uncertain. 

"If they don't get [tax extensions] on the ballot and they vote against it, it could be potentially devastating to us," Ruiz said. 

Assistant Superintendent Jack Lebrun said during a January presentation that the district has a $3 million surplus for 2011-2012, but would need to cut $5.1 million, or around $349 per student, for the 2012-2013 school year if the taxes are not passed.

Lebrun expressed anxiety about the reliance of Gov. Brown's budget — which promises "flat funding" for education — on these tax extensions. 

"The biggest concern I have is that all of the assumptions are based on asking voters to approve an extension of taxes," Lebrun said. 

As a result, the district will be preparing two budgets — one anticipating tax extensions and another expecting more cuts. 

Ruiz said that the district has already cut around $30 million out of the budget over the last five years and additional strikes at the budget could force more tough decisions to me made. 

"We've cut everything out of our budget already," Ruiz said. "And we've worked hard to get here, so hopefully the taxes are extended." 

Michael March 21, 2011 at 08:21 PM
The WVUSD Board WASTED a half-MILLION dollars between Simm's $300K golden parachute and the RUSD legal fees- did they "work hard" to include this in the budget? They are very free spending with tax money. Given this from yesterday: The California Republican Party drew a line in the sand this afternoon by voting at the end of its three-day convention to oppose "any tax extension, new taxes or tax increases by the Legislature," I think Jack LeBrun's concerns are the most important part of this article. Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/03/state-gop-opposes-tax-measures.html#ixzz1HGboWcjF

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