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High School District Faces Layoffs

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Tough times ahead for local schools.

Due to the state´s budget problems and declining enrollments, Sonora Union High School district trustees tonight will adopt a resolution that allows Superintendent Rob Gaskill to reduce district staff for the upcoming school year.

“This current year was rough, but we´re looking at one, maybe two more years that will be extremely difficult,” Gaskill said this morning.

The Sonora district isn´t the only one facing difficult times and tough decisions. He said they are now finding districts throughout California taking a hard look at their programs and staffing.

“Schools are people-driven,” he continued. “Eighty-some percent of our budget is salary, so when you look at tightening your belt it typically means programs and people.”

Gaskill said the layoffs total one full time position — but, if not for retirements, resignations and other staff adjustments this year, the number of layoffs would have been “more substantial, or we would have had to make some very difficult decision in other areas…and that´s for sure,” he said.

The reduction will go into effect in the fall of this year. Gaskill said the state´s budget crunch began in December of last year when most school districts already had salaries and teachers in place.

“This year, using some reserves and doing some good belt tightening, our staff responded very well monitoring their budgets,” Gaskill said.

The Sonora Union High School trustees meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Room 2 at Cassina High School on South Barretta Street.