At a special meeting Monday night, Ramona school board opened the door to cut 22 teaching jobs next school year.
To comply with state law, the district must send preliminary pink slips by March 15 to educators who may not have a job in 2010-11. The governor’s proposed state budget and nearly a decade of declining enrollment mean a budget deficit of $8.3 million for the Ramona district unless measures are taken to close the gap.
State budget uncertainties leave the district unsure if it will have to cut all of the 22.37 full-time jobs. But, Assistant Superintendent David Ostermann said, it could be worse.
No one wants to cut jobs, said board president Rodger Dohm, “but our job is to keep the district solvent, to make sure that we have a balanced budget, so that this operating budget can actually operate the district.”
Bob Stoody, board vice president, likened the cuts to “a Thanksgiving turkey about three days after Thanksgiving.”
“At what point do we say enough is enough?” asked trustee Dan Lopez.
Board members agreed to not consider more teacher layoffs for next year, even if the district receives less from the state.
“I think we can trust the community of Ramona...to come up with a solution,” said Stoody.
The 16 teachers and one counselor who accepted the district’s retirement incentive offer in December eased the number of proposed cuts, since the counselor and 12 teachers likely will not be replaced.
If the budget situation worsens, employee concessions may have to be made. Trustees indicated they would consider cutting the number of teaching days.