30 teach­ers to re­tire early as dis­trict lays out $2.1M in cuts

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY LIND­SEY HOLDEN

Dozens of Paso Rob­les teach­ers will take early re­tire­ment at the end of the school year — one of a list of cost-sav­ing mea­sures the dis­trict re­leased on Mon­day as lead­ers pre­pare to con­sider mil­lions of dol­lars in bud­get cuts.

The 19 pro­posed spend­ing re­duc­tions, which Paso Rob­les Joint Uni­fied School Dis­trict board trus­tees will dis­cuss on Tues­day, in­clude a re­tire­ment in­cen­tive for 30 teach­ers and nine clas­si­fied staff mem­bers.

The re­tire­ments will save the dis­trict $490,000 of the to­tal $2,148,802.

Paso Rob­les is in the midst of a fis­cal cri­sis. At the re­quest of the San Luis Obispo County Of­fice of Ed­u­ca­tion, board trus­tees agreed in De­cem­ber to make $3 mil­lion in bud­get cuts over the next two years.

The first $2 mil­lion in re­duc­tions must be made dur­ing the 2019-20 school year, and the re­main­ing $800,000 in cuts will come from the 2020-21 bud­get.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Paso Rob­les Pub­lic Ed­u­ca­tors (PRPE), a dis­trict teach­ers’ union, met on Wed­nes­day with county ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials and dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tors to dis­cuss the cuts.

Al­though ar­range­ments still need to be fi­nal­ized, 30 teach­ers have agreed to take ad­van­tage of early re­tire­ment in­cen­tives, said Jim Lynett, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of PRPE.

Four of the 30 po­si­tions will likely be elim­i­nated, and 26 new teach­ers will be hired, Lynett said. The cost sav­ings will come from the cut jobs and the lower salaries the hires will earn, he said.

“Most of the list is pretty in­nocu­ous in that it doesn’t af­fect the class­rooms,” Lynett said.

Jen­nifer Gavi­ola, deputy su-

per­in­ten­dent, said the four po­si­tion cuts are re­lated to cur­rent en­roll­ment pro­jec­tions.

About half of the 30 out­go­ing teach­ers work at dis­trict ele­men­tary schools, while the other half are in­struc­tors at the mid­dle school and high school lev­els, Gavi­ola said.

AD­MIN­IS­TRA­TIVE AND ARTS RE­DUC­TIONS

The cuts will also in­clude $470,900 in ad­min­is­tra­tive re­duc­tions.

Joseph Williams, direc­tor of schools, will be­come the dis­trict’s direc­tor of stu­dent ser­vices, a po­si­tion Kris­ten Shouse va­cated in De­cem­ber, Gavi­ola said. Williams’ old job will be elim­i­nated.

The dis­trict ath­letic direc­tor job, from which Rich Clay­ton re­signed in De­cem­ber, will also be among the cuts. The deputy su­per­in­ten­dent and high school ath­letic direc­tor will as­sume the po­si­tion’s du­ties.

Nearly $300,000 in cuts will also come from mu­sic and dance. One open dance po­si­tion will not be filled, while two oth­ers will be re­as­signed to dif­fer­ent open jobs and an­other will teach classes to ele­men­tary stu­dents weekly.

One mu­sic teacher will also be re­as­signed, re­duc­ing the num­ber of in­struc­tors from three to two.

OUT­GO­ING PRIN­CI­PALS AND NEW TEACHER HIR­ING

Paso Rob­les High School Prin­ci­pal Eric Martinez an­nounced ear­lier in the month he’ll be leav­ing his po­si­tion at the end of the school year to move closer to fam­ily.

Ge­or­gia Brown Ele­men­tary School Prin­ci­pal Michele Te­sauro will also re­tire this year, along with Dorothy Halic, prin­ci­pal of the Arts Academy at Bauer Speck, Gavi­ola said.

New teacher hir­ing will be­gin to­ward the mid­dle of March, she said. Last year, many of the dis­trict’s hires were Cal Poly grad­u­ates, Gavi­ola said.

Dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tors worked hard with the teach­ers’ union to find the best ways to ad­dress the bud­get, she said.

“It’s re­ally just look­ing at ev­ery bud­get line and in­ti­mately know­ing the bud­get,” Gavi­ola said.

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