Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/11/2010 03:03:33 PM PST

RIALTO – The Rialto Unified School District faces program cuts and possible layoffs as it copes with an estimated $18 million deficit over the next three years.

“We’ve gotten through this year and we have plans to share how we will possibly have to make some cuts,” Superintendent Harold Cebrun said.

Officials said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget proposals have translated into a $7 million hit to the budget for 2010-11.

But they also warned that in two or three years the district’s budget may be hit the hardest because of the uncertainty of the state’s economy.

In addition to upcoming budget workshops, Cebrun said he will pull together a committee of staff and teachers at the end of the school year to evaluate the financial picture through 2011-12.

The committee will look at possible reductions to programs and staff in an effort to close what officials said is a growing gap in the budget.

“We get hit almost every other month it seems,” Cebrun said.

The district hopes to stanch layoffs with an early retirement incentive.

The incentive is 82 percent of a worker’s final salary, said Bill Hedrick, president of the Rialto Education Association.

The district will purchase an annuity in that amount and pay the incentive over the number of years a retiree chooses, Hedrick said.

“It’s a pretty attractive offer if people were already starting to think of retirement,” he said. “When they think
about it I think quite a few will decide it’s time to go.”

The program is offered to employees at all levels, including certificated, classified and management personnel.

The deadline for workers to declare for the program is today,Cebrun said.

Hedrick said eligible teachers are those who have taught in Rialto for nine years and are eligible for retirement through the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

More than 220 are eligible for the program and between 50 and 70 teachers could take the incentive, Hedrick said.

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