|Explaining YUHSD RIFs|
Toni Badone, superindendent for Yuma Union High School District, explains how and why the reduction in force (RIF) recommendation was reached. Video by Janet Chasse
|YUHSD board meeting|
Members of the Yuma Union High School District board voted to cut positions during their Wednesday night meeting. The district is unsure of funding for next year as a state budget has not yet been approved. (4-8-09) Video by Janet Chasse
|School Dist#1 board meeting|
The Yuma Elementary School District #1 voted to cut 28 teaching positions during Wednesday (4-8-09) night's board meeting. Video by Stephanie Wilken and Janet Chasse
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Yuma Elementary District 1 to cut 28 teachers
Castle Dome Middle School teachers Rozz Williams and Jessica Casey will find out Thursday morning whether or not they have a job for next school year.
Williams and Casey could be among the 28 teaching positions that the Yuma Elementary School District 1 voted to cut Wednesday night.
In a vote count of 4-1, with board member Gary Wright the lone dissenting vote, the board approved the cuts caused by an estimated $8.8 million budget shortfall for next year.
Now the two, who both went through Yuma Elementary District 1 as students, both have mothers who were teachers and both recently graduated college, are faced with the same uncertainty of whether or not they'll have jobs for next year.
Williams, who spent five years as a special education teaching aid, is in her first year teaching - and it's the first-year teachers that will be affected by the cuts.
District officials previously told The Sun that they do not expect the cuts to go further than first-year teachers.
Board President Wilkinson said the cuts would bring the student-teacher ratios to 25:1 for K -2 and 28:1 for grades 3 - 8. Superintendent Darwin Stiffler said those numbers would still keep them among the lowest class sizes in the county.
Williams said she hopes she won't get a pink slip Thursday morning because she's a "highly qualified" math teacher, which is a discipline in high demand.
"We have to hope that tomorrow's going to be good," Williams told The Sun at the board meeting Wednesday night.
Wilkinson said the current budget crisis is "the hardest time that we are going to have in a long time." In an emotional speech Wednesday night, Wilkinson said he truly believes the district will be able to bring back the 28 teachers.
The 28 teachers who will be cut will be the first ones the district hopes to bring back once they have a clearer idea of the budget for next year, Stiffler said.
And Casey hopes that's exactly what will happen if she's handed a pink slip Thursday morning.
Even though Casey's a second year teacher, she is "emergency certified," which means she could also lose her job. The emergency certification teachers go through this every year, but she said if the economy was different right now, she could have become certified and hopefully been safe from the cuts.
Even though Williams, Casey and many other district employees said the process of cutting the budget has been transparent and completely open, it doesn't make it any easier.
"You can know something's coming, but when you get it, it's still going to be emotional," Casey said.
She said even though she may lose her job, her coworkers will also feel the pain because they'll be losing teammates and friends - everyone is affected.
The district could reduce staff in other areas during the next few months, Stiffler said.
Wilkinson said "in easy times, it's easy to do things, but in rough times, it's really tough to stand up to the plate.
"Don't for a second believe anyone that tells you that this decision is not personal, because it is," Wilkinson said.
Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857.