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Las Virgenes Abolishes 19 Non-Teaching School Jobs

Times Staff Writer

Two months after it averted a possible teachers’ strike by raising salaries, the Las Virgenes Unified School District has voted to abolish 19 non-teaching positions.

The layoffs of two management employees and 17 non-teaching staff members will save the district about $300,000 during the coming school year, officials said.

The permanent dismissals were ordered Monday night by the district’s five-member board of education. Board members voted unanimously to eliminate two management jobs and 3 to 2 to abolish 17 positions on the maintenance, gardening and office staffs.

In a separate action, the board approved 3.5% pay increases for 241 remaining non-teaching employees. The 12-school Las Virgenes system serves 7,652 students in an 80-square-mile area, including Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village.

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The two managers targeted for firing, effective June 30, are the superintendent of maintenance and the superintendent of operations, officials said. The other 17 will be selected after negotiations with the workers’ union, the Las Virgenes chapter of the California School Employees Assn., they said.

A representative of the school employees association could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Donald Zimring, an assistant district superintendent, blamed the staff cutbacks on increasing costs.

In March, the district resolved a lengthy salary dispute with its teachers’ union by agreeing to give its 320 instructors a 7.7% pay raise retroactive to September, 1984. The contract, reached with the help of state mediators, included a commitment by the school district to ensure that teaching salaries are competitive with those in other districts with similar financing.

The teachers’ union ratified the contract last month.

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Zimring said the increase in teachers’ salaries contributed to Monday’s layoff decision. Officials have estimated that the instructors’ raise will cost about $99,000 this year. Zimring said rising utility costs and the need for repairs to many of the district’s aging buildings also helped prompt the layoffs.

Zimring said the district may be forced to take additional cost-cutting steps, but he refused to speculate what they might be.


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