School district looks to community for input on how to thin its budget
TRUCKEE “-Tahoe Truckee School District Superintendent Steve Jennings announced at a press conference Wednesday the District would be facing a $3 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year.
No school, Jennings said, would be spared the repercussions of a mutli-billion dollar budget deficit affecting the state of California.
Jennings said students and teachers won’t see immediate impacts; rather changes will unfold prior to the start of the next school year.
Recent School District developments, such as the fall raise given to teachers, affected the deficit, as they are extra expenses, Jennings said.
The November defeat of Measure U, a multi-million dollar facilities upgrade for the schools, would have left the School District with the same $3 million deficit, Jennings said, but with new facilities coming down the line.
In the 2009-10 school year, Jennings said, a variety of options including staff reductions will be on the table.
The layoff process, for non-teaching personnel, was explained by Asst. Superintendent David Inns.
Classified employees, who aren’t certified teachers, receive a 45-day notice of layoff before they are let go.
They are then subject to a 39-month re-hire program, Inns said, so if the economy improves in the time span they may be re-hired into the School District.
Teaching cuts would adhere to a different process, Inns said.
“For teachers, we’ll identify a particular kind of service that can be reduced, based on cuts we can make across the district,” Inns said. “The cuts will be made based on our educational priorities.”
Inns said teachers must be notified they are on a list of potential by March 15.
At that point, hearings would take place until April 15 to determine which teachers will be let go, if a layoff option is pursued.
Finally, teachers being laid off will receive final, written notices by May 15.
Jennings added no groups of teaching services have been identified for cuts. Staffing accounts for about 80 percent of the School District budget.
Jennings said staff and community groups would be formed some time in late January at each school site to address the budget crisis and seek input from local stakeholders on the cuts.
“The changes that are possible are endless,” Jennings said.
Jennings was adamant, however, that the restructuring wouldn’t do anything that would affect the School District’s academics.
“It’s important to remember that as we go on we can’t let anything that’s going to happen to us derail our academic improvement,” Jennings said.
A TTUSD Board meeting dealing with the budget shortfall is planned for 1 p.m. today at the Sierra Mountain Community Education Center, and is open to the public.
You can access the Wednesday press conference online at http://www.ttusd.org, as well as a budget primer detailing the issues affecting the School District.
What do you think the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District should do about the $3 million deficit it will face in the next school year?
Do teacher layoffs concern you and which programs do you feel it’s necessary the school keeps?
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