Tahoe/Truckee school district, teachers union reach tentative agreement to rescind layoffs | SierraSun.com

Tahoe/Truckee school district, teachers union reach tentative agreement to rescind layoffs

Sun staff report

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; A ray of sunshine has burst through the cloud of doom and gloom that has hovered over the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District for months.

As district administrators, school board trustees, teachers and residents debated how to handle budgetary shortfalls for the upcoming school year, lawful deadlines for noticing certified positions of possible layoffs came and went, resulting in 18.4 full-time equivalent teachers receiving pink slips.

Those layoff notices will likely become void, however, with Tuesday afternoon’s announcement of concessions tentatively agreed upon by the school district and Tahoe Truckee Education Association (the local teachers union).

and#8220;I am extremely pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the district that prevents layoffs and ultimately keeps people in their homes and teachers in the classrooms,and#8221; said Kirby Reed, lead negotiator for TTEA, in a statement.

According to a Tuesday afternoon joint TTUSD and TTEA press release, the agreement includes early retirement incentives and two to three furlough days for the 2012-13 school year. It also includes a reduction of six teaching positions and#8212; a result attributed not to budget cuts but to enrollment decline.

Rob Leri, the district’s new superintendent, said the number of furlough days will be determined by the number of teachers who decide to retire. The six positions still on the block, he said, will likely be absorbed by retirements.

and#8220;It is gratifying to make such a significant step and we want to continue in this direction,and#8221; said TTUSD Board President Kim Szczurek in a statement.

The agreement is expected to be adopted on Thursday by TTEA, and then by TTUSD at a later board meeting. Both parties have expressed confidence the ratification will take place.

Steve Dickinson, the TTUSD assistant superintendent of finance who bore the unenviable responsibility of delivering woeful budgetary news to the public over the past several months, is also pleased with the outcome.

and#8220;We’re still making a budget cut and meeting our budget target, but hoping to do so without laying anyone off,and#8221; he said in a statement.

The negotiation team for TTEA included Reed; co-president Jon Halvorsen; North Tahoe High School teacher Peggy Heidelberger-Smith; North Tahoe School teacher Tara House and Glenshire Elementary School teacher Suzie Dailey.

Representing the district were Leri, Dickinson, Interim Executive Director of Human Resources Tom Gemma; Principal of Alder Creek Middle School and Donner Trail Elementary Susan Phebus; and Truckee High School Principal David Putney.

and#8220;I give credit to both the negotiation teams for really making the effort at transparent open relationships. It’s a big part of how we got to where we are today,and#8221; Leri said.

Leri said he encouraged a new approach a few weeks ago that centered on a philosophy of presenting a packaged deal instead of one single solution.

Next, the two groups will meet to determine how the furlough days will be implemented and what kind of impact they will have on the school calendar.