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School Trustees Plan Eight Teacher Layoffs
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To meet declining enrollment and cut costs, Riverbank Unified School District proposes to reduce services and dismiss slightly over eight fulltime teachers.

Trustees voted 4-0 on March 8 to send out preliminary layoff notices for 8.3 certificated full-time equivalent (FTE) positions.

That includes pink slips for five teachers of multiple subjects in kindergarten through sixth grade; 1.5 FTE counselors including one at the middle school; a social science teacher; .6 FTE of a math teacher's position and .2 FTE of a special projects post.

School districts are required by law to notify certificated staff by March 15 if they do not plan to employ them during the following school year starting in August or September. But districts may withdraw some of the "pink slips" later and generally do. Last year Riverbank initially issued 15 layoff notices but thanks to retirements, resignations and other factors ended by dismissing only five certificated staff members.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Geisick stressed services must be reduced because district enrollment is falling. The fall has slowed at Riverbank High that had 860 students in 2001, numbered 710 at the end of the last school year and is now at 685. But Cardozo Middle School has plunged from 750 in the last school year to 500 or so this year. That accounts for cancellation of its student counselor, leaving just one counseling position in the district, that at Riverbank High.

Trimming the teaching staff will also ensure sizeable savings for the district. District Business Manager Carolyn Krisp said reduced certificated services will bring savings of about $500,000 in salaries alone.