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Eureka district librarians spared from layoffs

School board votes to rescind pink slips following $600,000 donation
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The seven campuses in the Eureka Union School District won't close their libraries after all.

The district recently welcomed some good budget news for the upcoming school year, in spite of state financial woes and thanks to generous local parents. But another local district could lose 24 teachers next school year.

The Eureka district - with schools in Granite Bay and east Roseville - rescinded pink slips issued to all seven librarians. Band programs have also been spared the chopping block. On May 8, the school board voted unanimously in favor of accepting a $600,000 donation from the nonprofit Eureka Schools Foundation, making the saves possible.

"We feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to do this," said board President Kristie Greiss. "We value these services immensely and feel they provide an opportunity for a well-rounded education that helps students (in) long-lasting ways."

Greiss said she received more than 250 emails from parents concerned about possible cuts, primarily to the music program.

Greenhills School librarian Anne Casagrande said she felt relief when she heard the news she still had a job.

"I didn't feel the district would take that step to close the libraries, so I was hopeful," Casagrande said. "But it was scary. The bottom line is the money."

The 20-year-old Eureka Schools Foundation launched its annual giving campaign earlier this year, raising nearly $300,000, which was a record amount for donations. Warren Holt, president of the foundation, said the support from parents and businesses shows "the community values local, public education."

But the district still has $2.8 million in deficit spending - of a total $24 million projected budget for 2012-13 - that needs to be addressed.

Earlier this month, the board voted to rescind preliminary pink slips for 13 out of the 22 teachers who had received notice for all or part of their positions, according to Human Resources Director Clark Burke. He said the district hopes to continue rescinding notices as student enrollment increases.

Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District's school board recently approved issuing final layoff notices to the 24 teachers who received initial pink slips by the March 15 state deadline, according to board President Scott Otsuka.

Dry Creek's projected budget for the 2012-13 school year is $47 million, with a possible deficit of nearly $4.5 million, Superintendent Mark Geyer previously told the Press Tribune.

Roseville City School District didn't issue pink slips. The district's projected budget for the 2012-13 school year is $66.5 million with a $5 million deficit if Gov. Brown's ballot initiative fails. The governor has proposed a tax measure to generate funds for education.

Roseville Joint Union High School District also refrained from issuing pink slips. The district's projected general fund is $78 million, with an estimated $5 million deficit, which will be covered with reserves.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.