WPUSD issues 18 preliminary pink slips

Notices issues because of state timelines
By: Carol Percy, Reporter Lincoln News Messenger
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Eighteen employee preliminary layoff notices was the most discussed topic at Tuesday’s Western Placer Unified School District meeting.

Board members and staff heard a budget report from Western Placer Unified School District’s assistant superintendent of business and operations Audrey Kilpatrick, followed by a discussion about preliminary pink slips.

The layoff notices went out last Friday to district employees.

Eighteen certificated employees received preliminary layoff notices, according to Ryan Davis, the school district’s director of human services. 

An additional 13 certificated employees received precautionary preliminary “reduction in force notices” just before Friday’s statewide deadline for districts to warn teachers that they could lose their jobs.

No classified employees have received notices at this time because there are different legal timelines for those positions, according to Davis. 

“We are very saddened by the fact that these notices have become necessary and that we are required to begin this process so far before the state adopts its budget,” Davis said. 

Prior to sending out the layoff notices, the school district held budget-planning sessions to determine when and where budget cuts were needed. On Feb. 19, the school board approved

budget-reduction recommendations totaling $1,322,800 in items that did not require negotiations with bargaining unions.

On March 5, the school board approved a resolution to reduce particular kinds of services for certificated staff for the 2013-14 school year. On-going salary and benefits reductions of approximately $781,000 related to those specific services have been included in the multi-year budget projection for 2013-14.

The school district plans to use any one-time unrestricted reserves at June 30 to offset the 2013-14 structural deficit, according to Kilpatrick’s report. This deficit refers to the fact that the district is spending more than it is bringing in for each revenue year. “Structural” means that the base expenses are more than the base revenues, according to the report.

After all budget reductions, reductions in certificated staffing and use of fund balance reserves are in place, the district will need to implement additional budget cuts totaling about $220,000 in 2013-14 to maintain the district’s positive certification with the state and the minimum requirement of 3 percent fund balance reserve for “economic uncertainties,” Kilpatrick’s report stated.

For 2014-15, if all on-going reductions made in 2013-14 remain, the district will need to implement $2.9 million in budget cuts to cover the one-time reductions in 2013-14, according to the report.

Kilpatrick’s report states, “Budget planning in our current economic climate is difficult due to the many moving parts. Property taxes, state allocations, cash deferrals and new legislature can all have a significant impact on revenue assumptions.”

One of the concessions that certain employees — specifically management and confidential employees — agreed to on March 5 to help offset budget cuts includes a reduction of work year of up to six furlough days for the 2013-14 school year. This move resulted in a one-time budget savings of about $111,000, the report said.

Superintendent Scott Leaman said that he “was saddened to have to issue the staff reduction notices but that the step was necessary based on the district’s projected budget and the state’s deadline for districts to warn staff about possible layoffs.”

“We wish that the state had allowed more time before notices had to be sent out, but given the “state-mandated timelines, the action (layoff notices) was required,” Leaman said.