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School District Eyes Furloughs
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Local school administrators are following the example of Riverbank City Hall in thinking of balancing its budget by handing out furloughs to employees rather than layoffs.

Riverbank Superintendent of Schools Ken Geisick said at the start of a June 16 board meeting that while the district continues to negotiate with both the certificated and classified employee groups, he is hoping all groups can agree on a proposal for two furlough days a month and accompanying pay savings rather than contemplate more layoffs.

RTA President Richard Beatty and other teachers have been treating the administration and board members with some suspicion since they discovered a special board meeting set for 8 a.m. on a Tuesday proposed to lay off six teachers.

Beatty and supporters turned up at that June 9 meeting to protest, the four trustees currently on the board lost enthusiasm and a motion for approval died for lack of a second.

Reviewing the proposed 2009-2010 budget before its adoption by the board, Business Manager Carolyn Crisp noted the average daily attendance apportionment by which the state primarily funds school districts has been slashed from $6,138 per student in the past school year to $5,519 for the coming school year and all school districts are experiencing similar cuts.

Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Ron Costa said cash flow could rapidly become a problem for the district, since the state is withholding and postponing payment of apportionments from month to month. The district's payroll alone amounts to $1.3 million a month and cash flow has dipped to $3.2 million.

Among action items, the board ordered a board election to fill three vacancies be consolidated with the general election of Nov. 3. The filing period runs from mid July to mid August. The board is currently operating with only four members. Veteran trustee Patricia Blount passed away in May.

The board approved several resolutions with C.T. Brayton & Sons of Escalon, which is now constructing the Mesa Verde Elementary School (the first phase is due to open after Christmas) to add a multipurpose room in a second phase of construction.

Trustees also approved hiring Zachary Williams as seventh grade boys basketball coach at Cardozo Middle School; granted a waiver to teacher Harry Rushing (in the NJROTC program at Riverbank High) while he completes a program to work with English Language Learners; hired Lisa Grzeskowiak as a SDC teacher intern at California Avenue Elementary School; and promoted Leo Montez to the lead custodian position at Rio Altura Elementary School.