At the Calaveras Unified School District (CUSD) board meeting on Feb. 19, the board voted on a resolution to lay off 11 certificated employees, which is part of the Multi-Year Action Plan (MYP) to resolve some of the issues of the CUSD budget. The motion was passed 4-0, with Suzie Coe abstaining.

At the CUSD meeting Feb. 12, Scott Nanik, superintendent of Calaveras County Office of Education (CCOE), had urged the CUSD board to meet the previously set deadline for putting 11 certificated teachers on layoff notice. He advised the board that if they didn’t vote at that time, it would show a negative financial statement for the period ending Jan. 31, and trigger actions from CCOE, including appointment of a fiscal adviser, stand-and-rescind orders imposed on the board members, and removal of local control.

“Your plan for fiscal adjustments is well into what needs to happen,” Nanik said.

During public comment, 32-year teacher Roger Salter admonished the current administration for its behavior, also mentioning a recent issue of a longtime teacher who had not received her paycheck in the mail. After calling the district, he said, she had filed a complaint with the labor relations board and was then able to resolve her concern. Salter was quick to point fingers and lay blame on the administration.

The board moved through the consent agenda and resolved pending items before voting on the decision to lay off 11 certificated employees. The initial vote was met with two board members looking to the floor before voting in the affirmative in hushed tones.

Other teachers spoke during public comment, imploring the district to take alternate action or further analysis, including teachers by site and grade, as well as evaluating the increasing special education budget.

The board discussed the item before voting. Trustee Cory Williams broke into tears as she shared her personal experience of being laid off from the district and finding work in a different district.

“We don’t want to lay people off, ever. These aren’t just names on paper, but these are people in our community – some really great people,” trustee Sherri Reusche said.

“With increasing costs and things and escalating special ed, it’s put us in a very difficult position. If we were a growing district, if we had a lot of developer fees, if we had some other things – we wouldn’t be in this position,” said trustee Dennis Dunnigan.

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