More Program Cuts Lined Up For Berkeley School District

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday April 16, 2009 - 07:09:00 PM

The Berkeley Unified School District is planning to eliminate at least 25 classified employee positions in response to state public education budget cuts, district officials said Wednesday. 

Positions that will come under the chopping block include administrative assistants, clerks, custodians, sous-chefs and instructional specialists. Some employees will have their work hours reduced. 

District Superintendent Bill Huyett said the cuts were necessary because of reductions in revenues in categorical and restricted funds. 

“Those are not all of the layoffs that will be made,” Huyett warned, explaining that the district had not analyzed the general fund yet. 

The Berkeley Board of Education was scheduled to vote on the layoffs Wednesday, April 15, after the Daily Planet went to press. If the board made its decision at its April 15 meeting, it will be found on the Planet website at berkeleydailyplanet.com. 

“We regret the hardship this notification process places on employees and the uncertainty of their future employment status,” acting Assistant Superintendent Cliff Wong said in a report to the board.  

Wong said the district expected that many of the positions could be saved in the future, although some might have reduced hours and others be eliminated completely due to a loss in funding. 

The district handed out around 136 potential layoff notices to teachers by March 15 but was able to rescind half of them a week later. 

The district is also proposing to eliminate staff positions and programs at the Berkeley Adult School to address a $1 million budget deficit in the adult education program in 2009-2010. 

The list of reductions includes cutting back on conferance and travel expenditures and eliminating teaching and classified positions. 

The school board is scheduled to vote on the district’s recommendations in May. 

The adult school was able to meet the $750,000 funding shortfall for this year by dipping into its reserves.