The Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) board of trustees resolved April 28 to issue some teacher layoff notices for the 2014-2015 academic year, citing a drop in enrollment and revenue as the main cause. The “layoffs” will, in fact, be a reduction in hours the teachers are employed, rather than complete layoffs.
The decision to restructure and reduce core funding began in February, when the board approved expenditure reductions of $844,100. According to the board meeting agenda, $450,000 in those reductions are associated with certificated layoffs due to declining enrollment and the related decline in revenue.
According to FUHSD superintendent Dale Mitchell, 30 sections will be reduced from the school year calendar. Subject areas that will be impacted include English, math, science, and social studies, allowing the district to maintain a balanced educational program and have a fiscally-sound budget, according to the agenda.
“We are still calling these reductions a layoff,” Mitchell explained. “It was something that was discussed in board discussions in February, and we voted on preliminary layoff notices in February.”
Mitchell stated that the decline in enrollment was impacted by the decision to begin a high school in the Bonsall school district.
“[The new Bonsall school] does impact enrollment,” said Mitchell. “If Bonsall wasn’t offering grade nine, many of those students would come [to the Fallbrook district]. They obviously won’t because of the new school.”
Teachers who would be impacted by the reductions were given notice on March 15 of the decision, and will be given their final notice for layoff before May 15.
Since the April board meeting, Melissa Marovich, district ELL coordinator, and Rod King, Fallbrook High School principal, met to discuss implementation of class size reduction for designated classes.
According to the agenda, the discussion took into consideration student educational needs and input from ELL teachers, teachers outside the ELL program, the FHS ELAC (English Learner Advisory Committee), and DELAC (District English learner Advisory Committee).
“Class sizes will be the same for the next year, or will be smaller than class sizes this year,” said Mitchell. “As a reflection of declining enrollment, we will have less teaching sections.”
According to Mitchell, the district will continue to implement strategies for teacher effectiveness, which will provide students with more rigorous education and better preparation for college and careers.
“We’re doing quite a bit of training with our own folks,” said Mitchell. “We have some positions which do have vacancy that we will be recruiting for, but that is not a large number. It is not only a matter of hiring trained people to come into our district. We are involved in professional development with existing teachers.”