School district looks to cut more positions | TahoeDailyTribune.com

School district looks to cut more positions

William Ferchland

A report on proposed schedules for South Tahoe High School and a decision to reduce the hours or scrap positions of several support staff are among notable agenda items for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District board meeting tonight.

Eleven positions are listed for reduction or elimination. They range from special education instructional assistants to a custodian to maintenance workers to office assistants.

Becky Fortier, past president and chief negotiator for the union that represents such classified employees, said there is still time to negotiate with the district if the board votes to approve the reductions not touched by retirements.

“It’s not done until it’s done. It’s still negotiable,” Fortier said, adding: “So I stay positive.”

Two of the positions listed, transportation supervisor and administrative assistant, aren’t covered by the union.

“They really don’t have a bargaining unit to help them,” Fortier said.

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Several of the positions are at South Tahoe Middle School. Martha Gonzalez and Jan Truesdell might see a decrease of two hours to their workload if the resolution is approved and unaltered by negotiations.

Gonzalez handles attendance while Truesdell is an office assistant.

Truesdell has been with the district for 19 years.

“I don’t know what will happen,” she said.

“We’re kind of the first line of defense here, good or bad,” Truesdell added.

Along with teachers, the support staff in the district has taken its lumps as financial cutbacks have become the norm in a district battling declining enrollment and a loss of state money. Secretaries, custodians and assistants have either been cut or had their hours reduced.

Fortier was not comforted that nine positions in the classified union were affected.

“It’s somewhat less in cuts because there’s not that much left to cut,” she said.

Prior to the board’s vote, Chief Financial Officer Michael Curran will give a report on the preliminary budget for the 2005-06 school year.

Marcia Kaster, principal of South Tahoe High School, will follow by giving a report on the progress of the possible change to the school’s schedule. Four-day school weeks and four classes in a day have been investigated.

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