No teacher layoffs in Union City

March 6, 2009 6:53:17 PM PST
About 18,000 California teachers' jobs are threatened because of state budget cuts. The California Teachers Association says March 13th is the deadline for the notices to be sent. But one local school district is going to keep all its teachers, in spite of the cuts from Sacramento.

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Vera Lisa Roberts is a first grade teacher in Union City. She's seen the benefits of having only 20 students in a classroom instead of 30.

"Just the fact that you can tailor your lessons so much better to meet their needs because you are dealing with fewer students," said Roberts.

Union City schools, K through three will keep their class sizes small, despite the latest round of state budget cuts.

By doing so, they will not layoff any new teachers.

The school district managed to balance its budget by making severe cuts last year which included closing two schools and doing away with high school bus transportation.

To help balance the 2009-2010 budget, the district eliminated eight counseling positions and projected there would be more students enrolling next year than they had anticipated.

"Although we are in a state of declining enrollment it is considerably less so that was another piece of the budget that helped us to balance it this year," said Superintendent Kari McVeigh.

The district also says it will reach out to the community for help.

"We know that we have to find additional revenue sources so we are investigating the possibility of a parcel tax," said McVeigh.

In this current economic climate, a few school districts are trying to find creative ways to avoid having to lay off teachers.

For example, teachers and administrators from two school districts in Davis and Sacramento are looking at voluntary pay cuts -- something the teachers' union oppose.

"And the next year when Sacramento says, oh you know what they did just fine, school opened, they had classes. It's worse for our kids and it's time we stand up and say no," said Charmaine Kawaguchi from New Haven Teachers Association.

Some districts are also considering furloughs to save jobs.

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