School Board chooses to cut teacher, library aides
KINGS BEACH ” About five non-teacher positions are being eliminated under a resolution adopted Wednesday night at a Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board meeting.
The positions would net the district a total savings of about $270,000 and come from classified employees in an effort to reduce an estimated $4 million budget deficit for the school district in the upcoming year.
Classified employees are made up of a group of workers including teacher’s aides, library aides and career center technicians.
The district resolved to lay off about two instructional aide positions, about 2.6 library instructional aid positions and about 1.5 career center technician positions.
The career center techs, who help to place students in jobs and colleges is a position which will be absorbed by each site’s counselors.
The move wasn’t easy, and won’t be easy on the school sites, said Truckee Principal John Neary, who referred to the library cuts which will leave only one librarian at each school site six hours per day.
“We’re past the meat and bone and into the marrow when it comes to cuts,” Neary said. “I just feel this was a cut farthest from the bone marrow core.”
Jan Polochko, librarian at Truckee High School, said it would be difficult to run a library without her library tech, who helps students with everything from research to compiling reports.
“How can I give the same level of services with only myself?” Polochko said. “It’s a lot to ask one person to handle.”
Library’s opening and closing schedules will mirror the school day, leaving them closed before and after school, a move board member Lisa Mohun said concerned her.
“I’m concerned about the libraries opening and closing as school does. What happens to those students who don’t have access to a computer at home and need that time?” Mohun said.
Board member Bill Kraus said he sympathized, but added the board’s hands were tied.
“All we can do at this point is cut,” Kraus said. “At this point we need some intellectual honesty, and we have to trust our educational leadership is bringing before us recommendations that will affect our students the least.”
Mohun said one-time money, such as some flexible categorical money, could be spent in this situation to ease the burden on residents who are losing jobs.
Assistant Superintendent of Finance Steve Dickinson cautioned Mohun against that course of action, saying darker days could be ahead for the state and local budget and urged the board to save those one-time funds for the future.
“If everything did turn around and real estate and property taxes came back today, we won’t see that benefit for at least 18 months,” Dickinson said.
A vote was taken and Mohun was the only dissenter to the passed measure.
The board has now saved slightly more than $3.5 million against next year’s projected budget deficit of $4 million.
Dickinson said the last $400,000- $500,000 will be difficult to cut and could include some restructuring of the district’s administrative staff.
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