78 more Richmond school jobs lost

April 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Dozens more school employees in Richmond will be feeling the pain of the state budget crisis. Wednesday night, the West Contra Costa Unified School district decided to cut nearly 80 more jobs, but the unions are vowing to fight.

School district employees were fired up, but it did nothing to change the board's vote to eliminate 78 jobs.

"It is your responsibility to make sure our district runs efficiently, so let s do it, but not by cutting jobs," Becky Tipp, a payroll technician.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District already sent layoff notices to 60 teachers, but as the state's budget grew bleaker, it had to find about $10 million dollars to cut. The latest casualties according to the district include a handful of management positions, but mostly jobs like three interpreters for the deaf, secretaries, clerks and a gardener who trims trees.

"I can't spot for him. I can't call the parents and say 'you need to come in because the secretary is going home.' That's not in my job description. Be careful of what you are doing to this district," said Pat Thomas, a custodian.

"I know this is a bad situation, and together, working together we're gonna be able to work this out. I know it doesn't sound like that's gonna happen right now. We don't have a choice. We have to make some cuts," said Audrey Miles a school board member.

The district still needs to find about $4 million in reductions to reach its immediate goal. Workers say more management jobs should go.

"If we're going to be cut, I think some of these managerial positions need to be cut too and some of the cabinet positions," said Flem Meriwether, a site supervisor.

The fight may be just getting started. Union officials claim cuts violate contract provisions and state education rules. Tomorrow they plan on filing grievances against the district.