Glendale : School Board Rift Widens

A rift on the Glendale Board of Education widened Tuesday when three members who have been targeted for a recall over budget cuts rejected a proposal to set up a broad-based community task force to re-examine the budget.

Board member Jane Whitaker proposed a 17-member emergency group composed of parents, business leaders, classified employees and teachers to advise the administration on $6.3 million in needed budget reductions.

The idea was defeated, 3 to 2, with board members Charles Whitesell, Blanche Greenwood and June Sweetnam opposing it. Two weeks earlier, the three were served letters of recall for failing to consider alternatives to a list of budget cuts proposed by Supt. Robert Sanchis.

Hundreds of parents, teachers and district staff, worried about endangered jobs, student programs and reduced salaries, have attended recent meetings to protest the original package of reductions prepared by the superintendent, his staff and five committees.

The committees convened by Sanchis last January included members from a cross section of the district's staff to help prioritize student programs and services for possible cuts, but Whitaker and board member Sharon Beauchamp have opposed the package.

They advocate salary reductions for district administrators and staff to lessen cuts in student programs next year.

Sweetnam said it would be unfair to punish the administration for the district's budget problem.

By the same 3-2 vote, the board Tuesday also trimmed 21 staff positions and reduced the work hours or job requirements of 30 other jobs by the end of June. Nearly 5% of the district's 1,250 classified employees will be affected.

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