Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Created: 07/01/2010 05:51:22 PM PDT

POMONA – More than 100 Pomona Unified teachers and other certificated employees will soon receive a letter informing them that they will have a job in the 2010-11 school year.

The district’s school board on Wednesday voted to rescind 113 layoff notices that were issued in May.

The vote was part of a series of steps that led to the board’s adoption of a more than $330 million balanced budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which started Thursday.

A combination of cost-saving measures – including one-time revenues, layoffs, cuts and an early retirement incentive program – closed $36 million loss in revenue.

Superintendent Richard Martinez said the early retirement program allowed the board to rescind the notices issued to certificated employees, most of whom were teachers. Other employees who received the notices were school psychologists and counselors.

“Many chose to retire early to save the jobs of their colleagues,” Martinez said.

The early retirement incentive allowed the district to reduce costs by more than $5.8 million, according to Pomona Unified budget documents.

In November, district officials offered a number of eligible certificated employees the opportunity to sign up for an early retirement incentive program. The program provided eligible employees, who retired at the end of the 2009-10 school year, with a “retirement supplement” averaging $65,000.

In March, the retirement incentive program was offered to eligible members of the Pomona chapter of the California School Employees Association. The association includes employees such as clerical and maintenance personnel.

More than 200 employees, including administrators as well as certificated and classified personnel, signed up for the early retirement incentive, said Leslie Barnes, assistant superintendent of business services and chief financial officer.

District administrators in August will present a list of additional certificated employees to board members in hopes of rescinding more notices, Martinez said.

By the time all the adjustments have been made, the number of certificated employees laid off is expected to drop to about 90, he said.

Associated Pomona Teachers President Tyra Weis said Thursday her organization heard notices would be rescinded and had hoped it would be done before the end of the school year.

“I think it brought a lot of relief for teachers,” who received layoff notices, she said.

Pomona Unified needed to call back teachers because of the large number of retirements combined with the layoffs would have made it difficult to meet the educational needs of district students, Weis said.

Weis said she and other association members hope teachers will be quickly notified of the good news.

Letters informing the 113 affected certificated personnel were sent out Thursday, said Steve Horowitz, assistant superintendent of personnel services.

In most cases, personnel will remain at the same schools they have been working at, Horowitz said.

However, some employees may have a different assignment at their school or have their previous responsibilities but be located at a different campus, he said.

A total of 321 preliminary layoff notices were issued in March, but, by May, the number had been reduced to 209.

On Wednesday night, school board members authorized laying off 35 classified employees.

Another 61 classified employees will remain employed, but will have changes in their assignments or salary, according to a staff report.

In May, school board members authorized district administrators to issue layoff notices to 57 classified employees, which includes instructional aids, clerical staff and custodial personnel.

Board members voted 4-1 to adopt the budget. Board member Andrew Wong cast the lone opposition vote.

The district’s $330,689,412 budget includes a number of separate funds such as for child development and adult education.

The general fund – totaling $225.1 million – made up the largest part of the budget. The general funds pays for employee salaries and benefits as well as needs such as books, supplies and operating services.

Of the $225.1 million, about $90.5 million are restricted funds that can only be used for certain purposes such as special education or kindergarten to third grade class size reduction.

Salary negotiations allowed the district to save about $5.2 million.

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