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WV gives 26 teachers bad news

Sat., May 16, 2009

Cash-strapped district weighing other options

The full information on what budget cuts the West Valley School District will make to cover its $1.2 million shortfall aren’t known yet, but the district did announce at this week’s board meeting that 26 teachers have been told they won’t have a job next year. They account for 18 full-time equivalent positions and all were on one-year contracts that won’t be renewed.

The budget numbers are still fuzzy as districts await word on how much federal stimulus money they will receive and what restrictions will be on the money. All the districts in the area that have announced staff cuts and layoffs have said they hope to actually lay off fewer teachers in the end once the true budget numbers are known.

According to state law, teachers must by notified by May 15 as to whether they will have a job in the fall. More should be known by the end of May, after a workshop on the stimulus money.

Assistant Superintendent Gene Sementi said district staff met with each teacher who is losing a job. “It’s just an absolute tragedy,” he said. “We’re hopeful we’ll be able to bring a good many of those back.”

District staff is still evaluating other options to save money, including consolidating bus routes and reducing maintenance. Also under consideration is having all-day kindergarten every other day rather than half-day kindergarten every day. “It would save us mid-day transportation costs,” said Deputy Superintendent Doug Matson.

Also at this week’s meeting, the board voted to enter into a new contract with Food Services of America for bread. The district only received one bid and the current vendor, Snyder’s, did not apply, said nutrition services director Brian Liberg. “In some products they’re 20 percent cheaper,” he said of the new company.

Nina Culver can be reached at (509) 927-2158 or via e-mail at

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