SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento City Unified School District says on Thursday the school board will likely vote to eliminate 178 teacher and staff jobs.
“We’re facing a $35 million budget deficit. We’re at risk of state takeover,” district spokesman Alex Barrios said. “We have to reduce spending.”
The district is not yet releasing exactly how much money these layoffs will save, but it believes it will have a significant impact on the deficit it faces.
"Ninety-one percent of every dollar goes towards benefits and salaries for employees," Barrios said.
The district says the cuts also reflect enrollment numbers, claiming over the past three years as they hired more teachers, more than 400 students left the district.
“Those enrollment numbers are completely bogus, and they are all over the place. They paid a consultant $52,000 to come up with a report that even the district admits is missing some of our schools,” Sacramento City Teachers Association Vice President Nikki Milevsky said.
The teachers union disputes the district’s figures.
“Our enrollment has actually stabilized over the last few years,” Milevsky said.
The union says of the 178 jobs on the cutting block, 59 are staff members that are retiring or resigning to take jobs in other districts. But it says 102 of the positions are those who want the job but are getting laid off.
“I spent three really long days with them at layoff hearings. Just awesome, dedicated teachers,” Milevsky said. “It would just be such a shame to see them go to other districts.”
But the district says it had little choice, as it’s at an impasse with the union on switching to a more affordable health care provider -- a move the district says it needs to make in order to save enough money to avoid a state takeover.
“This is very difficult and it was not our first option,” Barrios said. “But in the absence of achieving savings in other places, we really were left with no other option.”
Meanwhile, the teachers union has called for a one-day strike on May 22. The district says while it has requested one, it still has not received a reason for that one-day strike from the union.