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ABC School District Yields on Administrator : Education: The board bows to union pressure and shelves a plan to add a research and evaluation director while eliminating 18 positions.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The ABC school board Tuesday approved the layoff of four maintenance and clerical workers as part of its plan to cut $1.3 million from next year’s budget.

But the board bowed to union pressure and temporarily shelved a plan to add a new administrator for research and evaluation while eliminating 18 other positions. All of those cuts will be handled by not filling vacancies and reassigning employees, trustees decided.

An accounting clerk, warehouseman, switchboard operator and glazier are the only employees who will lose their jobs at the end of June.

ABC Unified School District Board President Jim Weisenberg and members Robert Hughlett, Dixie Primosch and Catherine Grant voted for the layoffs, while Cecy Groom, Sally Morales Havice and Dean Criss dissented.

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“We did listen to you on the assessment research director,” Primosch said. “We are deferring that.”

But union leaders said they are not satisfied and plan to pressure Supt. Larry L. Lucas, who recommended the cuts.

“We’re mad as hell,” said Steve Highland, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We intend to get a vote of no-confidence on the superintendent.”

By a no-confidence vote, Highland said, members of his union “hope to show the superintendent how awful morale is. We hope it will change his mind.”

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Highland said the union represents about 275 district blue-collar workers.

Richard Sharp, field representative for the California School Employees Assn., said his union will join in the voting. The union represents 600 clerical, secretarial and technical workers.

John Ennes, president of the teachers union, said he is “disappointed for our classified colleagues but pleased that the decision was made not to get a research director. The administration hadn’t convinced the teachers there was a need for the position.”

Ennes said his union will not participate in the vote of confidence on the superintendent.

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The proposal to create a director of research, assessment and evaluation at a cost of $78,000, including salary and benefits, outraged the unions. Another $27,000 had been budgeted for the director’s secretary.

Lucas had said earlier that a director was needed to make “an overall assessment of student performance.”

However, Lucas read a statement before the board voted Tuesday, asking the board to delay hiring a director.

He said a director is needed but suggested that the board postpone creating the position because of the criticism. He recommended that staff members and parents study whether a director can be hired for less money.

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The district’s proposal originally called for the layoff of six workers. However, other jobs were found for two of the employees.

Lucas said the district will help the other four find jobs within the district or with private businesses.

The district is short $1.1 million in its $83-million budget for 1990-91. It has projected that $2.5 million in reductions must be found to balance the 1991-92 budget.


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