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49 school positions either eliminated or reduced

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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The Western Placer Unified School District voted Tuesday night to eliminate and/or reduce the number of hours worked of 49 classified employee positions. Seven positions that are currently vacant were also eliminated. The reductions approved Tuesday night were part of an effort made by the district to cut $5.75 million from the 2012-13 fiscal budget. The board also approved a reduction in the work year for senior management, classified management employees and classified confidential employees by eight days, according to the district’s director of human services Ryan Davis. A memorandum of understanding for the entire Western Placer Classified Employees Association was also ratified by the board, which includes eight furlough days, and a freeze on salaries, step increase and overtime, according to Davis. The reduction in work year, elimination and reduction of positions and contract changes for Western Placer Unified School District classified employees would amount to $766,000 in savings, according to the district’s assistant superintendent of business services Joyce Lopes. Prior to discussing the items, Western Placer Classified Employees Association Mike Kimbrough addressed the school board about the reductions. Kimbrough said the reductions were being made “so we can still provide services.” “Even with the concessions made, people are still being laid off and having hours reduced,” Kimbrough said. “It was a hard decision. I hope it’s not going to take long for the state to fully fund K to 12 so there’s enough teachers, administration and support staff.” The district’s Superintendent Scott Leaman spoke about how negotiations between the district and labor group transpired. “I’m really appreciative of CSEA (California School Employees Association). Much like WPTA (Western Placer Teachers Association), we worked cooperatively and collectively in a difficult situation,” Leaman said. “It was done really professionally and collaboratively. We are in the people business, so looking at reductions, it does affect people.” Davis also spoke, saying he was “echoing the comments made by Scott (Leaman) and Mike (Kimbrough). “It was great CSEA and the district was able to work so well together,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, we are still facing the elimination and reduction of some positions. It should be noted that, without the concessions, it would have been a lot worse. This saves jobs and keeps programs.” Board members Kris Wyatt and Damian Armitage thanked the labor group for the concessions made. “I know it’s hard and it’s a hard time for us all,” Wyatt said. “We’ll make it through if we do it all together.” Board member Brian Haley said he “hopes next year, we can add some of (the positions) back.” “What the two Mike’s did with their organizations was outstanding,” Haley said, referring to Kimbrough and Western Placer Teachers Association president Mike Agrippino. “It should be a model on how to face difficult times.”