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Districts enter "pink slip" season

By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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Although the state budget is still a gaping unknown hole, Roseville and Granite Bay school districts are scrambling to finalize their budget plans for the 2010-11 school year. With deficits of several million dollars, district officials have said this year’s budget cuts are “more emotional and more difficult than ever,” said Eureka Board President Lori Dangburg, at a recent district meeting. But how far will the budget cut into the classroom? Districts are required to issue “pink slips” to notice teachers that they may be laid off before the end of the school year. Some districts have a March 15 deadline to issue preliminary pink slip notifications to staff. Some “pink slipped” teachers may be asked back depending on the number of teachers retiring. Teachers have been encouraged to accept retirement incentives if they are eligible, but the final numbers of retiring teachers won’t be official until the end of the school year. So how many teachers in each district are scheduled to be “pink slipped?” Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District – The 10-school district recently closed mid-year cuts totaling $278,000 in anticipation of the 2010-11 school year budget deficit. Experiencing declining enrollment and anticipating a shortfall in state funding, the Dry Creek School District is looking to cut a total $4.6 million from its budget. While district officials are in the midst of negotiating retirement incentives, Superintendent Mark Geyer said it is unknown how many teachers will be retiring at the close of this school year. To prepare, the district is scheduled to issue 61 pink slips to notify teachers that their positions may not be available next year. Geyer said the May 15 revised budget from the state and a definitive number of retiring teachers will provide more concrete information on how many teachers will not return next year. Eureka Union School District- District officials have deemed this year’s budget cuts the hardest yet. The nine-school district is looking to cut $4.2 million for the 2010-11 school year and of the 25 "pink slips" to be issued, 17 represent teachers that will be noticed. Teachers taking advantage of the district’s retirement incentive, as well as the state budget revise in May, will determine how many teachers will not be returning. The board recently approved a recommendation to dip into the district’s 12 percent reserves to save an additional eight teachers from layoff notices. Roseville City School District – The 17-school district is facing a $3.2 million deficit, said Superintendent Richard Pierucci. The board recently made action to refrain from pink slipping teachers, instead the district will notice those teachers on temporary contracts. Currently the Roseville City School District has approximately 48 temporary employees, including teachers and nurses, Pierucci said. Those on temporary contracts are released at the end of each school year and then invited back after teacher retirements are made known. With 12 teachers accepting the district’s retirement incentive, the district is looking at up to nine temporary positions not being filled next year. Roseville Joint Union High School District- The district will eliminate 31.5 positions across the district’s nine schools that include Roseville Adult School and Adelante High School. The school has plans to “pink slip” 45 staff members including teachers, counselors, librarians and assistant principals. The district currently faces budget reductions of $3.9 million and an additional budget deficit of $1.6 million for the 2010-11 school year. Megan Wood can be reached at meganw@goldcountrymedia.com.