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District Reduces Teacher Dismissals
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Riverbank Unified School District served 16 teachers with pink slips several weeks ago due to budgetary constraints but has now withdrawn six of those dismissals. In addition, one teacher is being hired by the Riverbank Language Academy and with retirements and resignations, the number without a job here for the next school year is down to eight, or the equivalent of seven fulltime positions, Superintendent of Schools Ken Geisick told the school board at its May 11 board meeting.

"Thank you for the six rescinded layoffs," said Riverbank Teacher's Association (RTA) President Richard Beatty. "I ask you do the best you can to recall the rest. We need teachers, not crowded classrooms that impact learning."

The RTA is still negotiating with the district on pay and benefits for the coming school year,

The district's classified staff, such as clerks, janitors and bus drivers represented by the California School Employees Association have concluded negotiations and accepted four furlough days (mandated unpaid holidays) for the 2010 to 2011 school year.

All district staff, both certificated and classified, took two furlough days during the current school year, Geisick noted.

While other teachers under threat of layoff have accepted the district's action quietly, one spoke at this meeting to protest her dismissal and complain she had been treated unfairly and possibly illegally according to the Education Code.

In an emotional speech, Dawn Allen said that as a district administrator for 10 years (and briefly teacher) she was laid off without being given proper advance notice and "the chance to improve" at a time she was sick and was switched to a part time teaching position.

During her district career, Allen has served as principal of Rio Altura, Milnes and Adelante schools, Geisick said later, but administrators serve at will (having no tenure like teachers, they can be dismissed at any time) and Allen had little seniority as a teacher.

Teachers may be called back up to the start of the next school year in early August, he added, and stay on a priority list for rehiring for up to a year.