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School districts in county don't foresee teacher layoffs
No teacher layoffs are anticipated in at least four of the five school districts in Colusa County, but the superintendents are concerned about what the state may still do.
If more cuts come from Sacramento, local school officials said everyone will be reworking their budgets, and personnel and program cuts may be required.
Colusa Unified School District Superintendent Larry Yegohian said one teacher position is likely to be eliminated at Birchfield Primary School.
"We offered some early retirement incentives and had five teachers take advantage of that," Yegohian said.
One of those teachers works at Birchfield; and rather than hire a new teacher, the district will likely absorb the students into the other classes.
Yegohian said that will mean larger class sizes, but no more than 21 to 24 in any classroom.
"We will be raising the class sizes for the K-6 levels, and do with fewer teachers," the superintendent said.
Two of the retiring teachers work at Egling Middle School and two others at the high school. Those positions will be backfilled with new teachers, but at a much lower salary and benefits cost.
Yegohian said he does not anticipate having to cut any programs, but if the state budget forces more reductions, then they will be made across the board.
"So much is dependent on the governor's budget," Yegohian said.
The problem, Williams Unified Superintendent Judith Rossi said, is that no school district knows what that budget is going to be.
There is a May update, but she said the full picture will not develop until November.
In the meantime, districts have been warned to budget based on a worst-case-scenario of $370 less per student.
Even with that, Rossi said the Williams Unified School District will not be laying off any teachers.
The district is looking to adjust the administration structure at the elementary schools, with a single principal overseeing both campuses, and an assistant principal being hired to replace Cyndee Engrahm, who is retiring after 15 years as the principal at Williams Elementary.
Rossi said that whatever other changes there are in personnel, if any, it will be performance-based on not because of the budget — at least as the budget sits now.
John Greene, superintendent-principal at the Princeton Joint Unified School District, said that the district will start next year with staffing and programs intact.
His biggest concerns are the skyrocketing fuel prices, which impact a variety of district programs, not the least of which is special education, which is run through the Glenn County Office of Education.
"The significant increase is in the form of transportation," Greene said. "Even with that, we are going to maintain services."
Layoffs, program cuts and other decisions made two years ago are helping so the Pierce Joint Unified School District does not have to send out pink slips this year.
"And hopefully nothing at the state level changes that," Superintendent Pat Hamilton said.
That is not to say Hamilton does not want changes at the state level.
She said that until state education budget process is cleaned up, and districts get a secure funding source, questions about layoffs and service reductions will persist.
The only school district that did not respond to calls seeking comment was Maxwell Unified School District. A message was left for Superintendent Ron Turner.