Clovis Unified staff get pay cut, furloughs

Clovis Unified School District trustees voted 7-0 Wednesday night to cut employee pay 2% and institute three days of furloughs next school year, part of more than $8 million in cuts to the district's budget.

The reductions represent a salary cut of 3.5% per employee and save $6.2 million. The board also approved a retirement incentive for 49 employees that will save $1.85 million. An earlier retirement incentive was granted to 115 employees and saved about $4.5 million.

In recent months, the district has made about $20 million in budget reductions to close a $28 million budget gap.

Superintendent David Cash said the district's employee compensation committee examined more than 100 options to slash the district's budget deficit.

He said the district will not reduce programs for students in art, music or sports or adopt a shortened school year, as other districts have done. He said the board's action comes with the recognition that "now is not the time for students to suffer." The district will retain step raises for its lower-level employees, which will total about $3.4 million.

Under the pay-cut plan, 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 will be in force for the upcoming budget year, which begins July 1. There will be no layoffs.

The approved cuts lower the district's budget deficit to about $6.9 million for next year and will be covered mostly by budget reserves, district officials 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.