By Canan Tasci Staff Writer
Created: 02/18/2011 06:38:51 PM PST

ONTARIO – Ontario-Montclair School District’s superintendent described the district’s $13.2 million budget reductions in two words – gut wrenching.

“It is for so many reasons because it is personal to the people it is impacting, but, at some point, you have to establish a priority that is furthest away from the classroom and staff that still gives us the best possibility to deliver world class education for students,” OMSD Superintendent James Hammond said.

“At the end of the day, you have to look at what is in the best interest of the students – but no cut is ideal.”

Hammond’s sentiments were shared at the district’s board meeting Thursday night after board of trustee members approved millions in reductions to the next school year.

The approved reductions are based on a worst-case scenario if the extended temporary tax revenues as proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown are not approved. Brown’s proposal to close a $25 billion budget gap without cutting K-12 schools depends on voters approving a five-year extension to temporary taxes in a special election in June.

“I think the district staff has done a great job of controlling assets and keeping solvency, but we’re at a place where if the tax measure doesn’t pass these cuts will impact everyone across the board,” Hammond said.

Among the district’s $13.2 million in cuts is a reduction of 25 percent of each department and site budget, lowering the repair and maintenance contributions for buildings from 2 percent to 1.75 percent, a reduction to school-based administrative support team and sending out 305 preliminary lay-off notices to certificated staffers next month.

Districts must send out preliminary layoff notices informing teachers, counselors, nurses and other certificated personnel by March 15 that they may not have a job at the end of the school year.

Officials though said they are confident a number of staff notices will be rescinded after the governor’s budget is finalized.

“I think a very large majority of the staff who will receive notices will be called back even if the tax measure is not passed,” board President Sam Crowe said.

Among those being given the layoff notices:

153 temporary certificated employees

75 permanent certificated employees who are categorically funded

66 temporary certificated employees who are categorically funded

11 administrators – six assistant principals, two elementary administrators, two district certificated management and one principal.

Temporary teachers are contracted yearly and certificated employees are paid out of funds that have strict limitations to their use, said Cyndy Byrd, OMSD’s assistant superintendent of human resources.

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