The Galt Joint Union High School District has voted to eliminate seven core curriculum teaching positions and periods of electives such as art and drama. The unanimous decision was made at a special meeting Monday and in preparation of sending preliminary pink slips by March 15.
Two math teachers, two science teachers, two English teachers and a social studies teacher are among those expected to be laid off next school year due to budget cuts. Periods of drama, auto shop, engineering, art and music will also likely be reduced.
Although he understand the district is facing a $2.2 million budget shorfall in 2011-12, teachers’ union president Alex Bauer takes issue with other money he feels could be used to save jobs.
The district has a reserve of more than $3.6 million, in addition to $330,000 in a fund set aside for capital improvements that can be transferred to the general fund, he said, adding that he feels the district is playing shell games with the budget.
But Chief Business Official Audrey Kilpatrick defended the use of district money.
“All information related to the district’s budget and how we spend district funds has been presented to the board and the public at the board meetings for their review and questions,” she wrote in an e-mail.
Regarding captial improvement money, Kilpatrick said the funds are restricted for facilities and are not part of the general fund that pays for staff. Specifically, the $330,000 is proceeds from the sale of a portion of Galt High School land and was designated by the board to be put into a fund for capital improvements of district facilities, according to Kilpatrick.
“These same questions have come up ... at various meetings and I feel they have been answered,” she said. “I encourage any questions by the board, employees and the community. I would be happy to answer any specific questions that they might have regarding how funds are used.”
What about the $440,000 in federal job funding? Kilpatrick said it’s being used in the current school year. She did not specifically address the reserves.
In other action Monday, trustees voted to change board policy and increase freshman English and algebra class sizes to 28 students and a maximum of 30 per class. The district will save money by reducing staffing due to increasing class sizes.
Trustees also approved using an additional $20,000 set aside for specific programs such as school safety and violence elsewhere in the 2011-12 budget.
Law allows districts to use funding received from so-called Tier III categorical programs for any educational purpose. Last month, the board has approved flexibility transfers totaling $417,092 to offset the projected deficit in the next fiscal year.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.