No Pink Slips For Natomas Teachers

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
The Natomas Unified school board has made a pledge to its teachers: No one will lose their jobs to save money.

There will be no layoffs this year,” said interim superintendent Dr. Walt Hanline.
Hanline’s announcement followed a budget report during a school board meeting held last night, Dec. 14.

We are going to reinvest in kids by investing in teachers,” Hanline said. “Teachers will only be laid off for programmatic changes – not fiscal cuts.”

The news is expected to come as a relief to those teaching for Natomas Unified. The school district has laid off dozens of educators over the past three years to offset declining student enrollment and cuts to state education funding.

Student board member Brian Levingston welcomed the news, saying his peers at Natomas High School can tell  teachers with low seniority fear losing their jobs.

Teachers think they are going to be cut and they step back,” he said.

Pay concessions made by teachers sunset at the end of the 2011-12 school year, but Hanline said a $2 million budget surplus means the school district can delay additional teaching staff cuts another year. The district’s 27 percent reserve, he added, is just enough to sustain the district temporarily if the state make any more cuts to education funding.

No layoffs and a projected decline in enrollment likely will result in smaller class sizes, Hanline said. These smaller class sizes are also expected save the school district money because teachers are paid “overages” for each student over the class size negotiated in the union contract.

After years of cuts, we want to offer some stability,” school board president Bruce Roberts said. “We are trying to give staff a sense of security and show our commitment to them.”

Hanline also announced the school district would start advertising today to hire 3 ½ counseling positions. The jobs would be shared by Natomas and Discovery high schools, Natomas Middle and Heron School and may be filled by laid off counselors, he said.

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