Bauer-Speck Elementary preps for close, termination notices sent

On Mar. 24, the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board members moved forward with its proposed layoffs of classified employees with a 6-1 with Board member Joan Summers dissenting.

Citing “program modifications and budgetary restraints,” the Board cut full time positions of four custodian positions, a Secretary, a K-5 Clerk, and a Library/Media Tech. The notices of termination are contingent on the closure of Bauer-Speck Elementary and gives the employees 60 days notification before being laid off.

“The reduction of these [classified] positions is approximately $420,000,” Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gaviola said, “but the closure of these positions would only take effect if Bauer-Speck itself was closed.”

Gaviola told the board that with the closing of the elementary school, two administrative positions would be reduced along with a dance and a physical education teaching positions. Gaviola said people in those positions received a “substantial job change notification,” meaning that since the employees have permanent status, they have the chance to be transferred to a different position in the district. She explained that these changes, including the classified terminations, result in a saving of $834,000 that was indicated on the meeting’s agenda.

“It is my fervent hope that we can find another option,” Superintendent Curt Debost said, referring to the potential closure of the elementary school, “this is not my preferred option. I would love to find a different way to do it. It just seems to me that the numbers are crashing on us.”

Board member Chris Bausch and Dubost debated back and forth about the cause of the layoffs. Bausch contended that poor decisions by the board and previous members resulted in the decimation of the school reserve budget and consequently, the terminations and possible closing of Bauer-Speck. Bausch cited the overestimate of Average Daily Attendance and deficit spending as the cause of the impending terminations.

“We allowed that to go on and approved budgets that should never have been approved,” Bausch said.

Dubost respectfully disagreed, stating that the declining enrollment numbers are ultimately to blame, and a robust reserve would only delay inevitable layoffs.