Twenty-two layoff notices have been issued by the Merced County Office of Education, Superintendent of Schools Steve Gomes told county school board members Monday afternoon.
Gomes said that the layoff notices ultimately will affect about 15 positions for the next school year, beginning next fall, because of seniority "bumping" rights.
Most of the layoffs are due to reductions in services linked to declining enrollment, Gomes explained. Enrollment has dipped at Merced's Valley Community School campus because Merced High School opened its own alternative education program.
Other layoffs have involved certificated personnel with independent study and deaf/hard-of-hearing programs. The county schools office can't afford to maintain low student-teacher ratios with those programs anymore, Gomes said.
In other matters, school board members heard Chowchilla Union High School District Superintendent Ron Seals speak about the state's high-speed rail program, detailing changed school bus routes and potential loss of farmland.
Gomes said he doesn't believe school board members will take a position on high-speed rail. But Seals' presentation and that of a rail authority executive last month will give the board food for thought.
Board members also took their first look at an amended conflict-of-interest policy for MCOE which now includes about 30 coordinator positions.
The revised conflict-of-interest policy is due to come back to the board next month for approval. Gomes said he's a firm believer in transparency and making sure coordinators don't have personal interests in some of the decisions they're making.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.