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District, teachers reach agreement

Deal saves Rocklin Unified $1.2 M; returns up to 40 instructor jobs
By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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Approximately 35 to 40 teachers will be returning to the classroom next year thanks to an agreement with the district and Rocklin Teachers Professional Association. Through a majority vote, the Rocklin Teachers Professional Association agreed to take six furlough days during the 2010-11 school year. The six furlough days save the district approximately $1.2 million, according to Kevin Brown, Rocklin Unified School District superintendent. Not only does the agreement bring back teachers, the money saved will also assist with other areas and programs. Combined with the teacher jobs saved, the agreement also saves approximately 70 jobs within the district. The kindergarten through third-grade staffing ratios will go down to 26 to one instead of the proposed 30 to one. Class ratios at the high school level will be at 34 students to one teacher and the music program at the fifth- and sixth-grade level will continue. Counselors at the middle school level will also be brought back. The academy model at the middle schools will also be saved. “The board was extremely pleased with the employee groups stepping forward,” Brown said. Trustees approved the agreement during last Wednesday’s meeting. Combined with the $400,000 that was made in employee concessions by administrative, confidential and classified staff, the additional concessions by the teachers brings the total to $1.6 million in district employee concessions. Barbara Scott, president of the Rocklin Teachers Professional Association, said the group began discussing potential concession options around early April. Through surveys, Scott said they found members overwhelmingly favored furlough days as opposed to slashing salaries across the board. “We try to make sure that the members understand that we just don’t craft these issues out of the air,” Scott said. “We get their input.” The surveys and votes determined that members wanted to keep as many programs and teachers as possible. “Most members did agree that the members, in these bad economic times, did need to make some concessions,” Scott said. Recently, Rocklin Administrators Professional Association and the Confidential Employees Association both made salary concessions as well as district superintendents. Rocklin administrators agreed to take four furlough days and a 2-percent salary reduction for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. Confidential employees agreed to take four furlough days for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. And district superintendents agreed to a voluntary 4-percent reduction in salary effective July 1. The district faces an $8 million deficit for the 2010-11 school year and continues to look for ways to fill the budget gap. The next school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1 at the district office, 2615 Sierra Meadows Drive.