Budget Ax Cuts 10.5 Teachers’ Jobs at ETUSD

Manager Gets $400,000 Contract on Top of $1.18 Million to Architect

California’s state budget turmoil can no longer be kept out of local classrooms.

Students and parents told trustees at the El Tejon Unified School District’s March 10 meeting that they need high school physics and calculus classes so students can qualify for good colleges. Student Austin Mielke, with parents Valentina Katkov and Kathy Pilgrim, said they fear that advanced placement (AP) classes are being cut. Kitty Johnson stood to plea that JV sports and the Drama Club’s trip to Ashland, Oregon for workshops on Shakespeare not be dropped. “These things keep kids out of trouble,” she said.

Acting Superintendent Danny Whetton said, “We are seeking ways to grow our AP classes,”

Then the trustees took out their carving knives and voted to send layoff letters to certificated teaching staff, cutting 10.5 teaching positions. Whetton said he hopes that retirements and normal attrition will account for most of the position loss, but that is unlikely.

Enrollment in the district has dropped by 74 students since last year, further reducing revenues.

Monique Miron, president of CM Construction Services, Inc. of Visalia, received a unanimous vote for a $390,000 to $428,000 contract for construction management on the bond building project. Santa Barbara Architect Phillips Metsch Sweeney Moore (PMSM) has been paid about $1,186,100 so far, and will be submitting a fourth contract for participating in the construction phase.

Bond funding is $7.12 million. State matching funds are uncertain at this time. Whetton said PMSM was paid on a “fee basis” rather than on a percentage of construction basis.

It is not legal to use bond funding for general education purposes.

The Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee meets Wednesday, March 24 at the FMHS library. The public is welcome to attend.

—P. Hedlund

This is part of the March 19, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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