Yellow ribbons of support handed out by Ann Tozier, Scott Clemons and his daughter Annakate Clemons at the May 4 ESUSD Board meeting failed to sway enough Board members to keep 15 teacher positions from being let go. (Photo: Kirkner)
After countless hours of testimony and many more hours of community involvement over the past few months to try and keep budget cuts at Eastern Sierra Unified School District away from the classroom, the ESUSD Board voted 3-2 to approve Resolution 10-10, which will dismiss 15 teaching positions throughout the District.
Board member Doug Northington told The Sheet that this was the largest teacher layoff the Board had ever followed through on. Several years ago more pink slips were issued but all of them were rescinded. Northington and fellow Board member Tad Roberts were the two “No” votes on last night’s resolution.
The community spoke for several hours before the final vote was taken. They encouraged the Board to give them another week since the legal deadline to start the notification process of those being laid off is not until May 11. Board President Margie Beaver explained that there was a bumping process that could take several weeks, which was why the topic was on the agenda that evening.
“Some of the positions we are looking at are three people deep in the bumping process,” Beaver explained. The bumping process deals with seniority. The first person on the list is given the choice to bump someone out of their job position if they are ranked lower in seniority, therefore laying off the person below them rather than being laid off themselves. Each person has five days to think about what they want to do. The layoff notification and decision process must be completed by May 15.
Mono County Office of Education’s Assistant Superintendent Stacey Adler and Deputy Superintendent Colleen Wright were also present at the May 4 meeting to present MCOE’s proposal to combine administrative efforts such as payroll with ESUSD, therefore saving the District approximately $300,000 because MCOE would provide these services for free for the 2010/11 school year.
The Board was skeptical of the offer, fearing that by consolidating and therefore having to get rid of some of the ESUSD-specific staff, the District would not receive the same level of attention and staff/Board interaction that they receive now. Board member Randy Gilbert feared that if the arrangement did not work out after the 2010/11 school year, then the District would just have to bring staff back anyway. Wright assured the Board that if they were willing to come to the table to discuss the offer, all of the details would be discussed in depth. At this time the proposal is very broad, she added.
After taking the vote to dismiss the teachers at the end of the evening the Board did direct staff to follow up with MCOE to discuss the proposal further.
For more on this story pick up this Friday’s print version of The Sheet.