Mountain View Voice

News - May 14, 2010

School district cuts, reduces classified staff

Anonymous 11th-hour donation saves two library assistants

by Martin Sanchez

The Mountain View-Los Altos high school board agreed May 10 to lay off three of the district's classified employees and reduce the work hours of six more for the 2010-2011 school year.

The jobs were cut in an attempt to balance the district's budget, which has suffered from reduced state funding and decreasing property tax revenues, according to district superintendent Barry Groves. The district's classified employees include instructional assistants, clerical staff, maintenance workers and food service professionals.

The staff reductions were chosen last month by a budget advisory committee made up of teachers, administrators and classified staff, Groves said.

At the meeting, classified employees' union rep Chris Pedersen asked trustees to vote against the proposed staff reductions. Pedersen is a member of the California School Employees Association, which represents the state's classified school employees.

"This year it was a minimal cut to staff, last year it was a minimal cut to staff. I don't know if you're familiar with horticulture, but you can only cut a living entity so much before you start to do damage," he said.

After the meeting, Pedersen said future budget reductions should be distributed equally between teachers, administrators and classified staff. He also said letting classified staff make budget decisions as a group would allow them to make required cuts while keeping as many employees as possible.

"There's a high standard here, and to maintain that takes the appropriate staffing levels ... we want to get in front of this and have a say in our own destiny, not have it said for us," he said.

The proposal underwent one eleventh-hour change. The district received an anonymous, last-minute $56,000 donation to fund library assistants' salaries that had been included in earlier staff reduction plans, Groves said at the meeting. The donation will allow two part-time library assistants to keep their jobs, he said.

The staff reductions will take effect June 30. Steve Hope, the district's assistant superintendent for personnel, said two senior office assistants and one computer support provider will lose their jobs. Two senior office assistants will have their weekly hours reduced, Hope said, along with three instructional supervisors and one child care supervisor at the adult education program.

Finally, the theater manager's work time will be reduced from 220 to 180 paid days a year, he said.

E-mail Martin Sanchez at msanchez@embarcaderopublishing.com

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