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School employees agree to furlough days

That’s to lessen budget shortfall by $800,000
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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School district employees are taking steps to save money for the next school year by agreeing to furlough days and reducing their work year. Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott Leaman and the district’s director of human services Ryan Davis presented four agenda items during Tuesday night’s school board meeting, which were all passed by the board. These actions were taken to “help mitigate the anticipated budget shortfall that the district is facing,” according to Leaman, and will save the district $800,000 next year. According to previous News Messenger reports, the district will target $3 million in budget reductions for next year with $1.2 million of those reductions being backfilled by one-time federal stimulus money. The Western Placer Teacher Association agreed to four furlough days and modifications to benefits, including no pay raises next year and a change to their health benefits, according to Leaman. In addition, the work year for certificated staff (including Leaman), senior and classified management employees and classified confidential employees will be reduced by four days next year. “It’s great they were able to come to an agreement in a timely fashion so we didn’t have to deal with layoff notices,” Davis said. “Everyone who worked on the agreements should be commended.” School board members were pleased with the action taken Tuesday night. “I appreciate the cooperative spirit that has been taking place across all groups,” board member Paul Carras said. Board members Damian Armitage said the reductions will help the district “weather the storm for a little while longer” and Brian Haley said it was “the right action to take.” Board member Kris Wyatt also praised the action. “I just like the cooperative effort, because I was involved in the year when there were pink slips and it was probably the worst experience I’ve ever gone through,” Wyatt said, referring to the time in 1992 when she received a pink slip as a Lincoln High School employee. Board member Paul Long said the benefit of the furlough days and reduced work year is that “everyone is working together. “I think it’s fantastic that they all stepped up to the plate,” Long said.