District staff to be cut?

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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If the Rocklin Unified School District’s worst-case scenario becomes reality, the district will be much thinner. Approximately 100 instructional aides are on the chopping block. Additionally, full-time equivalent positions within the cuts include three bus driver positions, almost six school clerks and 4.5 library aides. All positions are based on full-time equivalent positions, which can account for several part-time employees representing one full-time equivalent position. “As we did with teachers, this is a worst-case scenario … we don’t know what the future holds for Rocklin,” said Bob Lee, assistant superintendent of human resources, at last Wednesday’s school board meeting. A total of 71.21 full-time equivalent positions were approved for reduction of force notices on or before June 30. The positions represent California State Employees Association, non-represented and confidential employees in the district. The number does not include teachers or other certificated employees. Pink slips for approximately 76 full-time equivalent certificated employees were approved in early March. Among the notices were four counselors, six high school math positions and 35 self-contained elementary classroom teachers, all full-time equivalent. The district faces an $8 million deficit for the 2010-11 school year. Trustees are moving forward with approving potential cuts if concessions are not made. Last year’s $4.5 million budget gap was filled by agreements like early retirement incentives, not replacing retirees, and four furlough days for teachers. The district also anticipated a more severe H1N1 outbreak in the schools as well as more students transferring into Western Sierra Collegiate Academy, a seventh- through 12th-grade charter school in Rocklin. But the district’s deficit continues. In the 2007-08 school year, Rocklin Unified School District received approximately $5,800 per average daily attendance. One student attending every school day equals one daily attendance record. This year, the number has dwindled to approximately $5,000 per daily attendance. A district’s revenue limit funding is based on its attendance. With the loss of per daily attendance funding, the district lost approximately $8 million in revenue, according to district documents. One option Trustee Todd Lowell brought up for consideration is for all district employees to take four furlough days. Lowell said he would also like to see a salary concession made by district employees. In October 2008, Rocklin Professional Teachers Association and school district trustees reached a three-year contract after a lengthy salary dispute. The approved agreement included a 4 percent salary increase effective April 1, 2009 and a .68 percent salary increase effective Jan. 1, 2009. With a 4.68 percent salary concession until the district’s daily attendance revenue limit increases to when it was at approximately $5,800 per ADA, the district would save approximately $2.5 million a year, according to Lowell. “We’re in a far worse situation,” Lowell said, as compared to when the salary increase agreements were made. The issue with the concessions and furlough days is getting all employee groups to agree, Superintendent Kevin Brown said. The next school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 21 at 2615 Sierra Meadows Drive.