Clovis News

Clovis Unified to consider pay cuts, furloughs

Clovis Unified School District trustees will consider a pay cut proposal tonight as they continue to grapple with closing the district's $28 million budget gap.

Under the proposal, all employees will face 2% salary cuts this year and next year, as well as three unpaid furlough days. For teachers, those furlough days will fall on "staff development days," when employees are in school but students are absent. Furlough days will continue through the 2013-14 budget year.

The pay cuts add up to $6.2 million.

The trustees will conduct a public hearing tonight and then vote on the proposal.

In response to a retirement incentive offered to long-term employees last month, 49 said they would take it, resulting in about $1.8 million in additional savings.

In October, 115 employees took the previous retirement offer, a savings of about $4.5 million.

The pay cuts will be in force for the upcoming budget year, which begins July 1.

District officials said there are no plans to lay off any of its more than 4,300 full-time employees.

In addition, the district will retain step raises for its lower-level employees, which will total about $3.4 million.

Teachers know the district is grappling with financial problems, said LisaMarie Slater, president of the faculty senate, which represents about 1,800 teachers.

"The cuts are unfortunately necessary to save everyone's job and to continue to provide quality education to our students," Slater said.

Cuts being considered tonight will lower the district's budget deficit to about $6.9 million for next year and will be covered by budget reserves, said Michael Johnston, the district's assistant superintendent of business services.

"Our multiyear plan is to ... dip down into the reserves a little bit," he said.

The district will continue looking for other budget cuts in an effort to limit the impact on reserves, said Steve Ward, the district's associate superintendent of administrative services.

"As far as the employees go, there are no more [pay] cuts being planned," he said.

Over the past two years, the district's state and reduced property tax revenues dropped by about $50 million -- a reduction of more than 15%. The revenues go into the general fund, which pays for staffing and many basic operations of the 37,000-student district.

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