District to send out 23 pink slips

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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Approximately 23 Rocklin Unified teachers and certificated staff could be without jobs next year. According to Bob Lee, assistant superintendent of human resources at Rocklin Unified School District, that number represents an estimate of how many teachers and certificated staff members of Rocklin Unified School District will receive preliminary pink slips on or before March 15. The layoff notices are part of the district’s contingency plan – preparing for worst-case scenarios. If a statewide tax extension does not make it on the June ballot and is not passed by voters, the district may need to cut approximately $2 million from next school year’s budget. In preparation for if the ballot does not pass, trustees unanimously approved to reduce or eliminate particular kinds of services during Monday evening’s school board meeting. “It’s something that we take very, very seriously and something we feel very, very emotional bringing forward to you,” Lee said. If the tax extension does pass, Board President Greg Daley said the district would be in good shape for next year and will rescind those layoff notices. Superintendent Kevin Brown said that is a best-case scenario for Rocklin Unified. “We need this flexibility, this contingency for the uncertainties that lie ahead,” Brown said. At the elementary level, approximately 11 full-time equivalent certificated positions will be eliminated, including 10 full-time equivalent classroom teachers. At the middle school and high school levels, a total of 13 full-time equivalent positions will be eliminated. That number includes four full-time equivalent math positions, three full-time equivalent language arts positions and two full-time equivalent social studies positions. Colleen Crowe, a member of the Rocklin Teachers Professional Association and mother of two children in Rocklin Unified, expressed her concerns with the cuts. “All these cuts on this list affect our children,” she told trustees. “This doesn’t have to happen.” Crowe said the association is willing to work with the district if the tax extension is not extended. Trustee Wendy Lang said she would like to forgo cuts and see what happens, but said her responsibility as a board member is to prepare for all scenarios – good and bad. “We need a year of reprieve … we all need a year of reprieve,” Lang said. “But my role as a board member is to keep this district fiscally sound. If I don’t plan for the worst, I don’t think I’d be doing my job.” Trustee Camille Maben agreed with Lang. “We all hope that things will work out … but if they don’t, we need to be prepared,” Maben said. “I can’t take the risk of all that we have.” The next Rocklin Unified board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. March 16 at the district office, 2615 Sierra Meadows Drive in Rocklin.