Thread regarding Hollister School District layoffs

Hollister School District votes to cut 33 staff positions for 2022-23 school year

Hollister School District board of trustees have voted to cut 33 staff positions at their March 3, 2022 meeting.

The board voted to cut a mixture of teachers, administrators, and other support staff for their 2022-23 school year. The board says in order to address their budget deficit they need to make cuts to staffing instead of one-time expenses.

"The current budget cannot sustain the number of current staff," said Erika Sanchez, the Hollister School District Superintendent.

The Hollister School District Trustees said during a March 3, 2022 meeting, the district budget has a $6M shortfall. To eliminate that, the board of trustees voted to cut 33 staff positions for the 2022-23 school year.

The board said, during the March 3 meeting, 93% of the district's budget is spent on staff costs, like salaries and retirement.

"This is hard. As a board member, trying to make decisions about people's lives, is not anything that any one of us here, want to do at all," said trustee Elizabeth Martinez, during the March 3 school board meeting.

The board voted to cut 15 classified positions, 15 certificated positions, and three administrator positions. All positions are full-time.

The staff reductions will eliminate $3.3M from the district's $6M deficit. The district will also use a one-time relief of another $2.7M by shifting salaries.

Some people in the community are especially concerned with the cuts to the physical education program. The program will be left to 12 teachers district-wide.

The district promises the program isn't going away.

"Perhaps the format in which it is delivered could look different that is important to recognize," the school board said.

"I love PE. I don't feel like you should take that away, and I know you're not. But I like the way it is," a student in the district commented during the March 3 meeting.

"Physical Education is fit for life, that's what we are trying to instill in these children. Not just for this period of time because they have fun," said someone from the community during public comment of the March 3 meeting.

Click here to watch the full school board meeting from March 3, where budget cuts were discussed.

"Our students are blessed to have such caring and passionate staff members that work for the Hollister School District. As the Superintendent, it is my responsibility to work towards providing the best experience for all students including academics, social-emotional well-being, safe environments, and supplemental programs while trying to balance needs with fiscal solvency. The balance between needs and fiscal solvency has been one of my priorities since I stepped into the Superintendent role.

All implemented programs are positive for students however it has become clear that we can not afford all of our programs. All staff are essential for our students base and supplemental programs; however, it has become clear that we can not afford all of our compensation costs which make up 93% of our total budget. To address our structural deficit we must make reductions to personnel versus reductions to one-time expenses. Our budget has demonstrated variability from one business cycle to the next for the last 15 months. Our upcoming budget cycle, Second Interim which is a snapshot of expenditures and revenues - will be very telling. Second Interim is due on or before March 15th and will demonstrate whether or not the district is able to meet its financial obligations and is making progress towards stabilizing its structural deficit.

All layoffs have lasting impacts and this one is no different. The Board of Trustees have cautiously selected positions that will have the least projected impact on student learning, class sizes, and workload.

Some of these positions are currently vacant, or will soon be vacant. Others are associated with students that will be promoted from the District at the end of the school year. Essential operations will continue.

Certain operations will need to adjust with the cuts to staff at all sites and the District office.

We will know with greater certainty how fiscally solvent our budget will be after March 15 when Second Interim has been completed. The Board of Trustees can adopt further measures to ensure that the District’s reserve level increases and expenditures decrease.

As with any reduction in force, a respectful approach to the circumstance is appreciated and warranted. I understand that staff reductions are emotionally driven, particularly, when staff livelihoods are impacted. I am responsible for staff and students and as the Superintendent, I am responsible for the fiscal solvency of the District. Currently, we are not fiscally solvent as has been reported in various of our board meetings. I have the responsibility to work towards fiscal solvency while maintaining student needs and appropriate staffing levels balanced. I will continue to work under the direction of the Board of Trustees and with our financial consultants and staff to ensure that we meet legal obligations and have a better understanding of our financial situation and future solvency.

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