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CSEA Claim: No Lack Of Funds
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Classified employees' representatives claim the layoffs that the Riverbank Unified School Board is imposing are excessive and there is no lack of funds in the district.

The district is eliminating 24 classified positions (21 percent of the workforce), according to a press release from CSEA Labor Relations spokesperson Melody Honeychurch.

"The resolution," she added, "includes cuts to library clerks which means libraries will be closed, cuts to paraeducators which means kids that are already struggling will lose valuable small group support; and cuts to custodians that mean the schools will not be cleaned.

"This is a district that is already struggling with low test scores and has been identified as a program improvement school. There is no lack of funds in this district and it is irresponsible to the kids and the community to lay off this many employees."

District officials said in a May 5 meeting they have a 6 percent reserve but if they don't take drastic measures they are on the verge of having to submit "a qualified budget."

While it is true they have a 6 percent "designated" reserve, a CSEA analysis of district figures shows they have an additional $3.2 million in "undesignated funds," said Honeychurch.

Local CSEA spokesperson Dana Rapisura said negotiations are still in progress and the CSEA will continue the funding struggle during those talks.

Last year, she said, the district received $650,000. The district could use some of that money to keep classified staff. It's onetime money. It would only last a year but it would give staff time to find other work.

"We believe this district has plenty of money. They're smart at budgeting. We know they have a healthy reserve. They did not answer when we asked for the dollar amount."

The district is eliminating 24 classified positions but only 20 or 21 will be affected because a few posts are already vacant.

"The district says it aims to cut $1.1 million. But they're cutting us by $650,000 when classified makes up only 20 percent of the payroll."