SALIDA -- Parents, teachers and community members vowed Tuesday night to work together to solve funding shortfalls at Salida schools.
The call to action came after Salida Union School District officials decided Friday to deliver a second round of layoff notices to 13 more teachers, which could bring the total cut to teachers for the 2009-10 school year to 25 percent of their ranks.
"I know we're in tough times, but it seems that you're cutting where it affects kids the most," Salida Middle School teacher Brian Ferguson told trustees.
Parents who spoke during public comment at the district's board of trustees meeting Tuesday referred to efforts under way to raise money to help save employee jobs.
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"We need to collectively put our energy together," one parent said.
Superintendent Doug Baughn said officials will negotiate a reduction in salaries, workdays and stipends and an increase in class sizes with the district's employee unions.
And if the state continues to partially fund smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, Baughn said he hopes to rescind the 13 teacher layoffs.
Fifty people attended Tuesday's meeting, a much calmer gathering than Friday night's special board meeting. Friday, Salida Union trustees voted 3-1 to hand out 13 more layoff notices to teachers and one to Salida Middle School's dean of students. Trustee Lamoine Blocher voted no, and Trustee Dennis Thompson was absent.
Blocher and Thompson did not attend Tuesday's meeting. Thompson is on vacation and Blocher was absent for personal reasons, Baughn said.
Like many districts across Stanislaus County and California, Salida Union is cutting its budget to deal with funding shortfalls from the recession and a decline in enrollment.
Instead of reducing teachers, parents urged Baughn to find other ways to trim the district's $30 million budget, such as selling the district office or cutting from administrators' ranks. Baughn said administrator staffing is at bare bones, but that the district office has shed three clerical positions.
The district must cut a few million dollars but won't know exactly how much until the state passes its own budget in the coming weeks.
Typically, district officials must notify teachers by March 15 if they might be laid off the next school year. But state law allows for a rarely used second deadline of Aug. 15.
Layoff notices also have been given to 80 classified employees -- bus drivers, teacher aides, custodians, secretaries and cafeteria workers -- to reduce work hours for some and eliminate the positions of others.
Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2339.