The West Contra Costa Unified School District superintendent issued the following statement to the school district community following the Board of Education meeting Wednesday.
By WCCUSD Superintendent Matthew Duffy,
On Wednesday night, the Board of Education made the difficult decision to notify nearly 300 certificated employees that their positions may be reduced or eliminated for the 2020-21 school year. The affected teachers, counselors, and administrators will receive official notices in the next week.
This was a painful but necessary step in the process to ensure that the District is able to solve its budget challenges for the 2020-21 school year in the event it is unable to implement negotiated agreements with each of our bargaining units. The District is actively negotiating with all 4 groups to minimize the impact of these cuts on our students and employees.
The District has a $47.8 million budget deficit that it plans to solve over a two-year period. We have made a commitment to reduce expenses by $32 million in the 2020-21 school year and have decided to reduce the remaining $16 million in the 2021-22 school year.
The Board has already taken steps to significantly reduce spending by approving a $6 million reduction in non-salary expenses and a $2 million cut from the discretionary funds allocated to individual schools. There will also be a $2 million reduction in unrepresented central management personnel costs, many of which were included in the resolution.
The remaining $22 million must be negotiated with our bargaining units. If we are unable to reach agreements that allow us to reach the $22 million target, the layoff notices could become permanent. However, our discussions with our union partners are progressing and I am confident that we will reach agreements soon and be able to rescind many of the notices.
You should know that this action is not the last layoff decision the Board of Education will be asked to make. In April, a similar action for classified employees will take place in order to hopefully finish the last budget reductions necessary for the 2020-21 budget.
In the meantime, we will continue negotiations and continue advocating for the state to fund our public schools at a level more in line with the state’s status in the global economy.
More information about the budget process can be found at www.wccusd.net/budget.