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School board to authorize layoffs

Molly Shore

In less than a month, 226 local teachers, nurses, counselors,

psychologists and administrators will receive termination papers.

The Burbank Unified School District might have to cut the

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positions -- more than a fifth of its 1,059 certificated employees --

if the state’s dire budget projections trickle down to the local

level.

In her report to the school board at its meeting Thursday,

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Director of Personnel Services Nancy Gascich said 85% of the

district’s budget is tied to personnel costs. A reduction in the

costs of programs, equipment and supplies will not be enough to cover

the anticipated $4-million cut to the district in the next 14

months, she said. The cuts are a result of a state budget deficit of

more than $30 billion.

“Staff reductions weigh heavily on us. It’s not something we like

to talk about,” Gascich told the board. “We are hoping for the best

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but preparing for the worst.”

State-education code requires that certificated employees receive

preliminary termination notices by March 15. She hopes affected

employees will not receive final notices if the state comes through

with enough money to keep jobs and programs intact for the remainder

of this year and the 2003-04 fiscal year.

Among the certificated employees scheduled to receive the

preliminary termination notices are school psychologists, nurses and

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counselors, teachers, and management employees.

If the district sends out final notices, certificated employees

must get them by May 15. For management, the deadline is June 30.

More than 800 non-certificated employees, who took a big hit in

cuts earlier this year, also would be affected, Gascich said, but

added that the district is only required to give them 30 days’

notice.

Kim Allender, co-president of the Burbank Teachers Assn., said his

group recognizes that while the worst-case scenario can happen,

members are optimistic. He said he is hopeful state legislators will

loosen the purse strings on education dollars.

The district also is considering bowing out of the California

Public Employees Retirement System’s health insurance coverage, which

will have a 30% cost increase next year, said Steve Bradley,

assistant superintendent for business affairs.

To remain with CALPERS, the district would face an additional $2.4

million in costs to cover employees and retired personnel, Bradley

said.

The district will finalize its budget by July 1, but the state’s

budget could change after that time, making local cuts too great or

too little.


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