OAKDALE PASSES BUDGET, AVOIDS LAYOFFS: The Oakdale City Council passed the city's 2009-10 general fund budget Wednesday night. City Manager Steve Hallam said the spending plan achieved two important goals: no police officers will be laid off, and the city will maintain 20 percent of its general fund as rainy-day reserves. Hallam asked all city departments to take 15 percent cuts this fiscal year, which starts July 1. The parks department cut its budget 20 percent. Earlier this year, city officials feared the deep cuts could mean laying off up to seven police officers. But Hallam said those jobs were saved after the Oakdale Police Officers Association came to the table with "creative savings" that achieved the 15 percent budget reduction goal and retained all sworn police officer jobs. The approved budget proposes general fund expenses of $9 million, with revenues expected to bring in only $8.6 million. The city will use reserves to balance the budget.
CSU, STANISLAUS, AWARDED GRANT FOR SCIENCE, MATH TEACHERS: California State University, Stanislaus, has been awarded an $896,000 National Science Foundation grant that will provide major scholarship incentives, starting this fall, for future science and mathematics teachers in the Central Valley and the rest of the state. CSU, Stanislaus, plans to award scholarships of as much as $30,000 over the next five years to 34 students who plan to become science and mathematics teachers at "high need" junior highs or high schools. Those $10,000 annual scholarships, which can be awarded during students' junior, senior and-or teaching credential years, will come from the main portion of the NSF's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program grant. The grant is expected to help CSU, Stanislaus, attract students who can help meet the acute need in the region and the state for seventh- through 12th-grade science and math teachers. School districts and agencies participating in the grant that serve schools in the "high need" classification include the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Modesto City Schools, Merced City School District, Stockton Unified School District, Lodi Unified School District and the Advancement Via Individual Determination Delta Sierra Region VI program.
SYLVAN DEAL CALLS FOR FURLOUGHS: Sylvan Union School District trustees Tuesday night approved agreements with employee labor unions that call for salary reductions and-or unpaid furlough days for the 2009-10 school year. The salary cuts and furloughs days amount to 1.1 percent to 2.88 percent reductions in pay. The five trustees also voted to cut their pay 2.88 percent -- to $283.32 a month from $291.72.