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March 4
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[KHTS] – For the most part, Santa Clarita Valley school districts are sending out fewer notices than in previous years, due in part to better budget projections; although at least one district notes officials aren’t quite out of the woods.

InOurSchools-Slider-3School districts must send out preliminary layoff notices by March 15, according to state law, and officials must make the notification to lay off workers by May 15.

Saugus Union School District staffers were most affected by the layoff notices. Castaic Union is cutting two position due to reduced enrollments, while the William S. Hart Union High School DistrictNewhall and Sulphur Springs school districtsare retaining all of their full-time teachers.

“I know that in the news, reports might indicate that with Proposition 30 taxes, education has been completely made whole, and that just isn’t the case,” said Marc Winger, Newhall School District superintendent. “But we’re not where we were in previous years — we’re out of the downward spiral we were in.”

Castaic Union School District

Castaic Union School District officials recommended to board members a resolution to finalize two layoffs, although it’s not due to financial hardship, it’s due to a reduction need, said Superintendent James Gibson.

“It’s not a budget issue,” he said. “We actually lost 200 students last year,” he said, noting the district is still trying to understand the mass exodus because “it’s just not normal.”

The district is working with a demographer to try and explain why the district as gained students since September — 26 to be exact — but between June and September districtwide enrollment went from 2,871 to 2,657.

And the losses weren’t consistent, with two schools gaining students, while the other two lost students.
“You had about 30 who went to different schools, but the overwhelming number of students are just gone,” Gibson said. “It’s something we’re trying to get a good handle on, too.”

As a result of the reduction in enrollments, the district Is eliminating a social science-history teacher and a physical education instructor at the middle school.

Newhall School District

Newhall School District officials have once again managed to avoid sending out any layoff notices.

“The budget is not great, but it’s definitely turned around significantly,” said Superintendent Marc Winger.

The district also has been affected by declining enrollments, he added.

The district had 6,941 enrollments in 2011-12; 6,947 in 2012-13; and then saw a 116-student drop-off for the current year, to 6,831, according to data available at the state’s Department of Education website.

However, the district is using the opportunity to improve its student-to-teacher ratio in the district’s kindergarten, Winger said. Over the last five years during the state’ budget crisis, the has been as high as 30-to-1, but the level is now at 24-to-1 at all Newhall School District schools.

Saugus Union School District

There were 73 individuals who received notices regarding 112 positions, most of which are part-time positions, according to Saugus Union School District officials.

“Some of the instructional assistant positions were funded with carryover from categorical funds that no longer exist with the Local Control Funding Formula, and a few positions were funded by PTAs or parent groups and that funding may or may not continue into the next year,” according to Superintendent Joan Lucid in an email. “There are three Child Development Program positions on the list, one of which was an unfilled position this year.”

The notices are preliminary, Lucid noted, citing last year there were 19 layoff notices given, but by the time the school year started, only four of those positions were either laid-off or reduced in hours.

“The site-district is conservative in maintaining positions year to year due to the changes in available funding and site needs,” Lucid wrote.

Sulphur Springs School District

SSSD officials are not cutting any full-time classroom teachers and there’s no longer a backlog of teachers waiting to be rehired, according to Kim Lytle, assistant superintendent of personnel and pupil services.

“We no longer have a 39-month rehire list,” Lytle said, “when a certificated employee is laid off, teachers have the right to be called back to duty for three years and three months.”

The board did just approve a resolution to reduce several of its instructional aide positions, Lytle said, and it did not anticipate bringing those jobs back.

“It wasn’t because of a budget cut, it was more of a programming change,” Lytle said. The move was part of an effort at improving instruction, and the district planned to add more full-time instructors as a result.

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