The decision was made during a special board meeting at the district office at 1875 W. Lowell Ave.
Board President Greg Silva said the staff cuts were the result of the district predicting fewer students in the 2013-14 school year.
“We have less students in the district, so there is less need for personnel,” he said. “We’re still deficit spending, so we’re looking to consolidate and make the staff as efficient as possible with less money coming in.”
District officials expect to have 100 fewer students in the next school year, according to Casey Goodall, assistant superintendent for business services for TUSD. He said the decline in enrollment translates into a $550,000 loss, as the state allocates $5,500 per student to the district.
Goodall said the district has lost about 100 students annually for the past five years, but he did not have a definitive reason for the loss.
On the layoff list are seven teachers and one principal with tenure — having worked a minimum of three years for the district. There are also nine teachers who were on probation — fewer than three years on the job.
The initial proposal was to lay off the equivalent of 20.8 certificated employees, which was approved by the school board Feb. 26.
On March 13, district officials finalized the list and sent letters to put those employees on notice. Out of the original 20.8, 19 requested a review hearing.
On April 30, administrative law judge Ann Elizabeth Sarli ruled to uphold the board’s decision.
Because the district must send final layoff notices by May 15, district officials said a special meeting was necessary.
“I’m never happy about sending those letters out,” Silva said. “(Loss of teachers) is not good for the district. But it is a business, and unfortunately we have to let the teachers go.”
The only resident who attended the meeting was John Anderson, president of the Tracy Educators Association.
Anderson said he received notification about the special meeting Wednesday afternoon, so he didn’t have time to notify the employees involved.
“I’m disappointed,” he said. “Based on my understanding of enrollment projections and budget, does it warrant layoffs? It doesn’t seem the enrollment projections are down enough.”
A similar situation occurred last year, and nearly all of those teachers were hired back before the start of the school year. Anderson hopes the same will be true this time.
“Disappointment is the word, with hope they will rehire as many as possible,” he said.
According to Sheila Harrison, assistant superintendent of educational services and human resources for TUSD, rehiring the laid-off teachers would depend on “student enrollment, staff allocations, teacher retirements and teacher resignations.”
“These are very difficult decisions for the district,” she said. “It’s no one’s first choice to lay anyone off.”
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