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District Faces More Teacher Layoffs
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Faced with a roomful of teachers at a special 8 a. m. meeting on June 9, trustees of the Riverbank Unified School District considered adopting a resolution to lay off several more teachers due to budget restraints. Following some board discussion and comments by teacher representatives, however, the motion for approval by trustee Pamela Floyd died for lack of a second and there was no further action that morning.

The move aimed to lay off six and a half teachers, according to the resolution and specified 3.5 certificated positions at the elementary level and two social studies and a music teacher at the middle and high school level.

These proposed layoffs are due to new budget cuts coming down from state authorities since their fund raising measures failed in the May election. They are in addition to the original teachers position cuts announced in the spring and now concluded.

Eleven certificated positions were targeted in the original announcement made in March. But these were cut to 8.3 fulltime positions by the time notices were sent out. Some positions were vacant at the time. By the time adjustments were made, only five or six teachers actually lost their jobs, said the district's Director of Human Resources Barbara Cortese.

Announcements of financial cuts by the state, however, continue to arrive almost daily, she added, and the board will have to look elsewhere in the district budget to find the required savings.

"There are other ways to cut expenses than among teachers who have the most impact on the quality of education," Richard Beatty, president of the Riverbank Teachers Association, said outside the meeting. The RTA represents about 140 or all but a handful of its teachers.

There are the district paid health benefits, for instance, enjoyed by the district office employees and the board trustees, he said. These are currently under discussion.

"Energy cuts could be made. They estimate savings of $100,000 could be made that way. Then there are the people higher up, the administrators. This district has a superintendent plus two assistant superintendents."

Beatty said he remembers Ken Geisick initially was hired as an interim superintendent when Joe Galindo retired. He doesn't recall the action that made Geisick a full superintendent.

To cut costs, Beatty added, class size increases also should be considered, reductions in athletic stipends, even less busing.