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Lodi Unified School District votes to reinstate more than three dozen positions for next year

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Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:49 am, Fri May 20, 2011.

The Lodi Unified School District's four comprehensive high schools will retain their assistant principals due to action taken Thursday by the board of trustees.

Those were among the three dozen-plus positions that will be funded in the 2011-12 budget, due to updated financial information presented Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown, and direction from the board's budget workshop May 7.

The list of positions was approved 6-0 at a special board meeting. Trustee Ron Heberle was absent.

Among the approximately 38 reinstated certificated positions are two elementary principals, four high school assistant principals, four secondary-level librarians and more than a dozen instructional coaches.

The individuals in those positions will have the opportunity to be reinstated, according to Assistant Superintendent Michael McKilligan.

Because of seniority and certifications, many would have not been laid off but simply moved into a classroom setting, thus bumping another teacher from his or her job.

Lodi Education Association president Jeff Johnston said the teachers' union is pleased that the district has taken this first step to restoring positions.

"The effect these reinstatements will have means that approximately 30 more teachers will be employed for the 2011-12 school year," he said. "More teachers employed by LUSD means small class sizes."

The governor's May revision of his January budget proposal indicates $3 billion more going to K-12 education. However, $2.5 billion of that is already owed to schools. Receiving the money now can help schools pay their bills with cash and prevent further borrowing.

In sum, the governor's plan doesn't provide more money, but simply allocates it in a more timely fashion. That will improve slightly some of Lodi's cash flow issues, according to Chief Business Official Tim Hern.

Along with other districts in California, Lodi was preparing for further reductions of $349 per student based on tax extensions not being approved, along with the loss of revenue from declining enrollment and the loss of one-time federal dollars, Hern said.

Because of this, the district was prepared to reduce its expenses by $15 million next school year.

Last week, the personnel department mailed 159 final layoff notices due to the anticipated budget shortfalls. The number was less than the 177 approved by the school board earlier this year.

The board will vote on the final 2011-12 district budget at a meeting June 21.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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