Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Marana schools give pink slips to 133 workers

The Marana Unified School District governing board voted unanimously Thursday to lay off 133 employees next school year, a 7 percent reduction overall.

The number includes 30 teachers, 10 administrators, mainly in newly created posts, and 93 support staff members, said district spokeswoman Tamara Crawley.

All but two of the district’s 17 schools – DeGrazia Elementary and Twin Peaks Elementary – were affected, Crawley said.

No principals, counselors or librarians were let go, she said. “All student programs, including fine arts, will be maintained, as will full-day kindergarten,” she said.”

Crawley said the cuts were needed based on a worst-case scenario that the district will lose about $7.6 million in state funding for fiscal 2009-10. Its budget this year is $77.7 million.

“We are absolutely hopeful that, in the event the district does experience less than $7.6 million in cuts, we will rehire those employees, beginning with teachers,” Crawley said. “The governing board members and superintendents re-emphasized that message at the meeting and expressed their concern that K-12 education is in this position.”

The state expects to be in the red by $3 billion next fiscal year.

Eliminating the 30 teachers will save $2.5 million; administrators, $539,000; and support staff, $1.2 million, Crawley said.

The remaining money will have to be saved in areas such as travel and cell phone costs and by changing to a more economical health care provider, she said.

All those being laid off for next year were notified personally by either Superintendent Doug Wilson or an assistant superintendent before Thursday’s meeting, the spokeswoman said.

Cuts in administration include a community involvement coordinator and a support staff development coordinator.

Marana has 1,877 employees this year, including 827 teachers, counselors and librarians.

The decision to do a reduction in force came after months of evaluations, Crawley said. “The superintendent visited every site, we had two public meetings and we created an Effective Use of Resources Committee to look at cost-savings options.”

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