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District Plan Would Cut 43 Teaching Jobs : * Education: The superintendent wants to curtail administrative and classroom positions through attrition, increasing some class sizes.

March 05, 1992|ROBERT MORAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GLENDALE — In a sweeping plan to offset the Glendale Unified School District's projected $6.7-million deficit for 1992-93, Supt. Robert A. Sanchis on Tuesday proposed eliminating the equivalent of 97 jobs, including 43 teaching positions.

The plan would "probably not" require any teacher layoffs, district spokesman Vic Pallos said during a news media briefing before Sanchis reported the gloomy budget proposal to the Board of Education.

The teaching positions would be dropped as they become available through teacher retirements, resignations and leaves of absence, Pallos said.

"We are hoping, but can't make any guarantees, that the vast majority of the proposed reductions in personnel will be handled the same way," he said of the suggested cuts in non-teaching positions.

In carefully worded terms, Sanchis proposed slashing the "equivalent" of 96.85 positions from the district's $112-million budget, which will be presented to the Board of Education for adoption in June. Actual layoffs can be avoided by payroll cuts through reducing work hours and consolidating duties, Pallos said.

Sanchis also recommended eliminating the positions of two top administrators who are paid more than $90,000 a year each. They are expected to retire and their duties would be consolidated among other administrators, Pallos said.

Sanchis blamed the shortfall on the recession and reduced funding from the state that, he said, together "have caused a turnaround of over $10 million in lost projected revenue."

The superintendent said that significant reductions in revenue from financial investments, city-imposed development fees and the state-run lottery are compounded by the bleak outlook for state funding.

The district is projected to receive no cost-of-living increases from the state for 1991-92 and for 1992-93, Sanchis said. Further adding to the crisis is a state requirement that school districts statewide set aside 3% of their annual budgets for emergency purposes.

"This is a very somber evening," board member Charles Whitesell said after Sanchis made his budget presentation. "I don't want to cut anything, but I'm not going to allow this district to go into bankruptcy."

District officials foresaw the crisis early last year and began looking for alternate sources of funding. A proposal to resurrect a district-run charitable foundation was quickly scrapped, however, because of concerns over the recession. The district then began targeting budget cuts.

In January, groups of district employees were organized into committees to identify where cuts and eliminations could be made. They were instructed to look at every program and department for reductions. "Nothing was sacred," Pallos said, although he added that the committees tried to avoid cuts that would directly affect the classroom.

Based on the committees' reports, Sanchis proposed 94 moderate cuts and 48 cuts, which were characterized as "severe." Those proposals would affect items throughout the budget, not only personnel.

The largest planned reduction comes in the elimination of 28.8 teaching positions for grades 7 through 12. As a result, the average class size in those grades will increase from 30.8 students to 32.8, according to district estimates.

A second sharp cut would come with the proposed elimination of 14 teaching positions in grades 4 through 6, also resulting in an increase of two students per class.

Such class size increases would have to be negotiated with the Glendale Teachers Assn., said Charles Duncan, administrator of personnel services for the district, which has 1,100 teachers.

A collective bargaining agreement with the teachers for 1992-93 that included the current class sizes was approved Tuesday by the board. Talks would have to be restarted on the class-size matter.

"We hope to reach an agreement (with the teachers) at some point this spring," Duncan said.

At Tuesday's board meeting, initial protests to the budget package were limited to a district librarian and a representative for maintenance workers, who objected to cuts aimed at their classifications. Sanchis has proposed reducing library services and cutting seven custodial positions.

Among other proposed cuts:

* A highly praised dropout prevention program would be slashed by $371,631, leaving $125,000 for new, scaled-back programs.

* Two of nine psychologist positions in the district would be eliminated.

* Funding for counseling services would be cut by $168,600.

* Principals working 11 months would have their work time reduced to 10.25 months, effectively cutting their pay by 6.7%.

* An honors orchestra for junior high school students would be cut entirely.

* The number of coaching positions would be cut by 25%. Officials had no figure for how many part-time coaches would lose their positions.

* Lunch hours for elementary schoolchildren would be cut from 45 minutes to 35 minutes to reduce supervision costs.

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