School board OKs plan for cuts

April 21, 2009 

Modesto City Schools trustees Monday night approved a tentative agreement with the Modesto Teachers Association that provides for a slate of reductions in pay, workdays and stipends for the 2009-10 school year. It also increases maximum possible class sizes and the ratio of students per counselor.

The vote was 6-0 with Trustee Cindy Marks absent.

The agreement was hammered out after months of negotiations over cuts in employees and programs because of the recession and California's resulting cuts to education spending. The agreement will go to Modesto Teachers Association members for voting Wednesday through Friday.

The reductions would save Modesto City Schools about $7 million from a $270 million budget. Officials are staring down $12 million in budget cuts for the next school year.

Changes include a 1 percent pay cut for most certificated employees; setting class sizes at a maximum of 38 students in core academic classes, 60 for physical education and 40 in all other classes; and reductions to student activity directors' hours.

"I'm very proud of our team and I'm very proud of the MTA team for working together," said Chris Flesuras, deputy superintendent of human resources.

MTA President Charlie Young recognized the union's members who have supported cuts to salary and stipends to save jobs. He urged everyone to vote "yes" on the state's May 19 special election ballot measures, all of which are budget related.

Trustees Monday also reviewed proposed high school student attendance boundary changes for the 2010-11 school year, when Gregori High School will open in Salida. The boundary plan was approved in 2005 before Enochs High School opened. The goal Monday night was to "confirm the changes," according to Dana McGarry, director of planning and research.

The changes will affect students who attend 11 elementary or junior high schools. As boundaries shift future students from Davis and Beyer high schools to Gregori, changes in the lines will backfill the drop in students at Davis and Beyer.

Enrollments at the district's seven high schools would range from an estimated 1,700 at Gregori High to 2,300 at Johansen High when each campus has all four grade levels of students.

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