10:00 PM PDT on Monday, June 28, 2010

By DAYNA STRAEHLEY
The Press-Enterprise

The Riverside Unified School District has laid off 117 teachers out of 455 preliminary layoff notices sent before the March 15 deadline, the school board was told Monday night.

Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Sanchez updated the board on the layoffs and rehiring process and Deputy Superintendent Mike Fine presented totals of staff reductions over the past three years.

In that time, the district has cut 372.8 full-time jobs, including 125.8 full-time jobs for 2010-11 because of budget cuts, Fine said. The totals represent 7.86 percent of the jobs on campuses and 22.92 percent of jobs at the district office and those assigned to multiple schools, he said.

Board member Chuck Beaty said he appreciates the remaining staff.

“We’ve taken as much out of management as we can,” said Beaty, a retired assistant superintendent and principal. “People need managers for their assistance.”

Superintendent Rick Miller said the totals include 23 percent of management staff, 8.7 percent of teachers and 10.3 percent of classified staff, which includes teaching assistants and custodial, clerical and cafeteria workers.

Board President Lewis Vanderzyl said those percentages reflect people.

“The gravity of all this weighs on us,” Vanderzyl said. “We are doing something to this district that has not been done before and it will affect the education of kids.”

Board members asked if administrators could reduce the number of layoff notices that have to go out next year by identifying budget cuts.

Sanchez said she thinks the district’s new approach to negotiations with the district’s two unions is bringing district management and employees to agreement sooner. She said transparency in the budget process is the key.

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