Thanksgiving may have passed, but three Galt Joint Union High School District employees are thankful their positions were reinstated following massive budget cuts last spring. They started back to work Nov. 1.
"I'm very happy and appreciate being reinstated, but feel it should have happened in August, since it was monies from 2010-11 that brought us back," said Laurie Bambas, who heads up the district's outreach services and comprehensive student support.
"I was brought back through the support of my co-workers, knowing it's only through the end of this school year," Bambas said.
In October, district trustees provided direction to transfer money from one account to another to rescind Bambas' position, plus the career center technician position held by Virginia Menezes and a part-time library clerk assigned to Galt High School.
Since the beginning of the school year, there has been no staff to oversee the book checkout process at either of the district's two comprehensive high schools.
This year, Galt High students have been unable to use materials outside of the school library after the clerk was laid off at the end of last school year.
At Liberty Ranch High School, not only is there no library clerk, but until last spring there were no books. Interviews for a new clerk for the school should be held within the next two weeks, according to Chief Business Official Audrey Kilpatrick.
Meanwhile, Menezes is back to work helping students fill out college applications and financial aid forms. Bambas reaches out to students and their families on various issues that may be affecting school attendance.
She believes community support is one reason she got her job back — and she didn't realize how much she missed being on campus dealing with teens and their families. "Most referrals come from staff, and I also missed the connection with them," she said.
Since Bambas has been back, she's catching up conflict management meetings and conferences with students and parents with attendance, academic and behavioral issues that weren't being held because school counselors are already stretched, she said.
"I also literally jumped back into supporting our students (and) families for Thanksgiving Need and upcoming Christmas Wish, long-time community events in Galt," Bambas said.
All four positions — the reinstated ones and the new Liberty Ranch clerk — are funded only for the current school year. Retaining them for 2012-13 is dependent on budget approval.
Trustees will likely vote on next school year's budget in May.
Bambas is hoping the school board approves funding for her position next year as the need is there, she said.
"It would be morale-building for the district office and board to listen and hear our staff — the ones directly working with the kids — as they know what's needed. I think it's time for everyone to give in a bit, starting at the district level," she said.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.