Dozens of teachers across the Manhattan Beach Unified School District will receive a pink slip next week, notifying them not to return for the 2013-2014 school year.
In a special meeting Friday afternoon, the district’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to eliminate a total of 24.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, a drastic move that is expected to save the district approximately $1.9 million.
The session followed up Wednesday night’s regular board meeting, where board members discussed Superintendent Mike Matthews’ recommendation to increase certificated staff layoffs from 19 FTE to the finalized 24.6.
The layoffs reflect the district’s current financial crisis and its efforts to propel out of the red.
According to Superintendent Mike Matthews, MBUSD’s budget last year ended in a deficit—the first in many years—at $1.1 million. To add insult to injury, the district this year lost $1.2 million in federal funds and an additional $2.8 million in personnel expenditure.
With a goal to reduce its spending by $2 million next year, the Board was inclined to fixate on the district’s biggest expense: salaries and benefits for its certificated personnel, which currently accounts for about 80 percent of the district’s annual spending.
The staff across the district’s five elementary schools will be hit hardest by the Board’s decision. A total of eight full-time equivalent teaching positions will be eliminated, in addition to one FTE in music. A total of 3.7 FTE reading support positions will also be scrapped.
Because the district’s K-3 class sizes are “still relatively small compared to most districts in California,” Matthews said, there is still flexibility to increase class sizes and accommodate the cut backs.
At the secondary level, the reductions include two FTE positions in social science and English, and one FTE each in math, physical education, counselor, athletic director, Spanish and music. French will lose 1.5 FTE; and computer science, 0.4 FTE.
Under state law, certificated personnel must receive layoff notices before March 15. Matthews noted, however, that no actions are final until the district’s budget is adopted in June.
“We’re still very hopeful that we can find ways to raise revenue or find other areas where we can cut, so that we can rescind these notices prior to June,” Matthews said.