Teachers looking for other jobs, representative tells Board of Trustees

 

There's a lot of uncertainty for teachers and classified staff at Taft Union High School, where some teachers have received layoff notices and are waiting to see if they will have a job in Taft next year.

Wes Morris, who represents the TUHS certificated bargaining unit, urged the District administration and Board of Trustees to announce soon which teachers would have jobs for the coming school year.

In February, the TUHS certificated bargaining unit and administration agreed to a plan to eliminate the

equivalent of 16 full-time teaching positions in February.

The cuts are in response to projections that show District income isn't going to increase for several

years while its expenses, especially the cost of retirement benefit, will continue to increase.
Subsequently, nine teachers took early retirement packages and nine more received layoff notices.

Three of the layoff notices have been rescinded, Morris said.

Six more don't know if they will have jobs or not.
Morris said teachers are looking for jobs elsewhere instead of waiting.

"We're losing some of our better staff," Morris said Monday night. "As quickly as we can, we need to figure out where people stand."

The sooner a decision on how many teachers who got notices will be staying, "the more quality teachers we are going to retain."

Morris said. "I'd encourage you to make the decisions sooner rather that later."

Classified bargaining unit representative Cari Fivecoat echoed Morris's concerns moments later.

Morris and Fivecoat spoke at a meeting where the Board accepted the resignations of two classified

employees, a classified management employee and a special education teacher who had received layoff notice.

In March, two special education teachers, one a longterm substitute, resigned.

The District is in the process of making major cuts as the California Local Control Funding Formula impacts the District's finances.

TUHS has traditionally been a very well-funded District, based on a number of factors, but the LCFF has changed that.
The District didn't see any cuts when the LCFF went into effect, but it is not going to see any funding increases until its funding level falls back to the average for similar size districts. In the meantime, expenses will continue to rise.

Interim Business Manager Joost DeMoes presented a report to the Board earlier this year showing the District could have a $3 million budget deficit if it continued to spend at the same levels for the past year.

In response, the District and certificated bargaining unit agreed to the plan to eliminate the equivalent of 16.5 full-time positions through early retirement,attrition, layoffs and adding to the teachers workload.

Teachers agreed to give up one prep period and will be teaching for six of seven periods.