CASTRO VALLEY — Add Castro Valley Unified to the list of area school districts beginning to work on addressing large deficits prompted by losses in revenue from the state.
Board members on Thursday night — minus trustee Jo Loss, who was absent — unanimously approved just over $5 million in cuts from next year's budget, which will eliminate about 50 teaching and management positions in the district.
The district's action is in line with what neighboring school officials had to do this week to meet the March 15 state education code deadline to notify any certificated employees of possible layoffs.
In the past week, the much larger Hayward and Fremont school districts approved plans to make $18 million and nearly $33 million in cuts, respectively. And $3 million will be trimmed from the San Leandro district's budget.
Castro Valley's plan includes increasing class sizes and reducing the number of counselors on campus.
Funding for athletic programs, which last year was chopped in half, will no longer be supported by the district, according to the approved plan.
In addition to the 50 positions on the chopping block, authorities also sent out an extra 25 layoff notices intended to give the district flexibility if the deficit increases.
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Bush said the governor's proposed budget is built on risky assumptions.
"There are ongoing state budget problems that are going to plague us," he said.
Other plans, such as furlough days, must be negotiated with the Castro Valley Teachers Association.
Union President Barbara Siegel said her staff, with help from the California Teachers Association, will continue to monitor and evaluate the district's budget.
Final layoff notices must be sent out by the district by May 15.
Just over $4 million in cuts were made last year to balance this year's $70.6 million budget.
Officials expressed disappointment in the position public schools are in because of state budget problems, noting that every cut affects students and staff. And some see the reductions having a long-term impact on education.
"I'm fearful that we are losing a generation of teachers who are going to leave the profession and go out of state," Superintendent Jim Negri said. "We may see a teacher shortage in the future, but the budget does not give us any real options. We are shooting each other in the foot."
Kristofer Noceda covers Cal State East Bay, Chabot College, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and other unincorporated communities in the greater Hayward area. Contact him at 510-293-2479. Follow him at Twitter.com/Noceda_Reports.