Negotiations continue regarding looming Tahoe Truckee school district budget cuts |

Negotiations continue regarding looming Tahoe Truckee school district budget cuts

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun
Jason Shueh / Sierra SunTahoe Truckee Unified School Districtand#8217;s new 2011 board of trustees are, from left, Kim Szczurek, Area 1; Kirsten Livak, Area 2; Gaylan Larson, Area 4; Randy Hill, Area 3; and Dianna Driller, Area 5. The board met for the first time Wednesday night.

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; As talks forge toward the new year regarding the school district’s looming $3 million deficit, possible budget reduction scenarios include layoffs of 27.5 full-time positions, a four-day school week, year-round classes and even campus closures.

In a Thursday interview, Steve Dickinson, Tahoe Truckee Unified School district Superintendent of finance, said the hypothetical scenarios and#8212; though at first appearing drastic and#8212; could be reduced depending upon district negotiations with the following entities: Tahoe Truckee Education Association, the local teacher’s union; California School Employees Association, which represents non-teaching staff; Tahoe Truckee Management Association, which includes the district’s principals and directors; and Confidential Unit, which includes the district’s office staff.

and#8220;Although we’re hopeful that there will be significant savings that will come through that negotiation process, we don’t know what that savings will be,and#8221; Dickinson said Thursday.

According to the budget-cut scenarios:

and#8226; If the district were to institute a four-day school week, it is estimated $100,000 could be saved.

and#8226; Closing or combining schools would save about $500,000.

and#8226; A year-round school year is estimated to save $185,000.

and#8226; High school athletics cuts, another controversial hypothetical budget reduction, would save the school district about $350,000.

Wednesday night, Dickinson fielded questions from teachers and parents during a board of trustees workshop; it marked the first meeting for the new board consisting of President Kirsten Livak and newcomers Randy Hill, Diana Driller, Kim Szczurek and Gaylan Larson.

In Thursday’s interview, Dickinson said he explained during Wednesday’s meeting that if the teachers union and other staffing groups accepted a greater amount in compensation reductions, it would likely lead to fewer people being laid off next year; conversely, if voluntary pay reductions are minimal, the result would be higher layoffs.

Considering the unknown savings, Dickinson said the district has divided budget reduction scenarios into two areas: Reductions based on current salaries, and those based on negotiated concessions.

and#8220;Negotiated concessions are being talked about, so we’re hoping that those types of concession can be negotiated,and#8221; Dickinson said. and#8220;In the meantime we have to carry on with the standard budget-reduction process.and#8221;

Also in a Thursday interview, Szczurek said she viewed the meeting as constructive; however, more discussion is obviously needed both by the public and in private talks with stakeholders.

and#8220;… We have a challenge ahead of us which is to try to balance our budget with declining revenues, and I think that everybody is on the same page with that,and#8221; Szczurek said.

While keeping communication flowing is positive, she said turning that communication into practical solutions is the real goal, with stakeholders involving themselves within the solutions.

Giving an example, Szczurek said many people at Wednesday’s meeting opposed increasing class sizes; however, they did not provide solutions or commitments to remedy increased class sizes.

and#8220;What I need is the next sentence that says this is how I’m going to participate in that solution,and#8221; Szczurek said.

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