By Jim Steinberg Staff Writer
Created: 05/12/2011 04:48:40 PM PDT

RIALTO – The school board on Wednesday night approved final layoff notices for 85 teachers and 11 counselors as part of a plan to avoid a $9.5million revenue shortfall for the next school year.

Lisa Lindberg, president of the Rialto Education Association, which represents Rialto Unified’s teachers and counselors, said the board action is not the final word.

“We are hoping to get some good news” on Monday, when the state releases revised budget numbers for next year, she said, adding that those numbers may reverse some the district’s staff-reduction efforts to balance the 2011-2012 budget.

Among those to be terminated by Wednesday night’s action were seven elementary school teachers, four high school math teachers, four social science teachers, 12 sixth-grade teachers and 12 preschool teachers.

Earlier action by the board terminated about 100 temporary contracted teachers, Lindberg said, adding that she is hopeful some of those positions also could be restored after state budget numbers are revealed Monday.

Other Rialto Unified Schoo District cost reduction efforts, not discussed Wednesday night, involve the elimination of 25 administrative positions, although some of those administrators may be reassigned to other jobs in the district such as school principals or classroom teachers, said Felix Avila, assistant superintendent of personnel services.

No teachers or counselors addressed the school board about its layoff plans before the 3-1 vote to eliminate the 96 jobs.

Most of the teachers at the meeting, held at Jehue Middle School in Colton, were involved in one of several award presentations conducted before the layoff vote.

The meeting was held at the middle school as part of a plan to meet at different locations in the sprawling school district, which has 19 elementary schools, five middle schools, three comprehensive high schools, an adult continuation school and a total of 26,000 students.

While employes had few public comments about the layoff action, board members had much to say.

“There are not guarantees in life…. When teachers get laid off, with the (poor) economy, there is very little opportunity for them to become re-employed in this area,” said board member Joseph Ayala.

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