Marana school board OKs 133 layoffs - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Marana school board OKs 133 layoffs

District officials blame state budget cuts for job losses

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Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:35 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

With statewide budget cuts already in place and others impending, the Marana Unified School District Governing Board last week voted unanimously to lay off as many as 133 district employees.

The cuts would cause the elimination of as many as 30 teaching positions. The district employed 827 teachers this school term.

Cuts also include 93 of 942 support staff positions such as teachers' assistants, maintenance workers and office personnel. Another 10 positions in the administrative office would also be eliminated. Those positions include development and community involvement coordinators.

The layoffs do not include any principals, counselors and librarians.

The district employs 1,877 people in all.

All the affected employees were previously given verbal notification of the job cuts. The employees were given official written notification in subsequent days.

District officials estimated that state funding for the school system would drop by $7.6 million in fiscal 2010, which begins July 1.

"We are hopeful that any cuts to the budget are less than $7.6 million," said Tamara Crawley, Marana schools spokeswoman. That amount represents what Crawley called "a worst case scenario."

Crawley said that if the state doesn’t cut the full amount from the budget, district officials would try to re-hire some of the affected employees.

All the laid off workers would be put on a "recall list" for three years, Crawley said. If district finances improve, and funding returns for the eliminated positions, the employees would be given preference for their former jobs.

The state legislature cut more than $130 million, or just over 1.3 percent, from K-12 funding earlier this year. At the time, Marana officials said it would mean the elimination of $1.6 million in state funding in the current school term.

Marana's total enrollment in the current term is 12,945. It had a $77.7-million budget in fiscal 2009.

Amphitheater Unified School District, which also serves the Northwest, also has faced budget cuts this year.

When the legislature announced current-year budget cuts in February, Amphitheater officials estimated the district would lose more than $2.1 million. The district later estimated that fiscal 2010 cuts could cost Amphitheater as much as $15 million. In fiscal 2009, the district’s budget was $110 million.

In March, Amphitheater announced the possible layoff of 66 district employees. About 47 of the cuts would be teachers.

District officials also have recently discussed the possibility of asking taxpayers to renew the 2005 maintenance and operations budget override — a move that allowed the school system to increase spending beyond budgeted amounts.

Officials credit the override with funding 107 additional teaching positions. The override would expire in 2012.

In addition, the governing board also could request that voters approve a capital-budget override. A capital override would permit Amphitheater to spend more on technology and instructional materials such as computers.

Officials with Amphitheater maintain that the overrides would not increase the secondary property tax rate that property owners in the district pay.

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