Berkeley Unified School District proposes 8 job eliminations, reductions

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Joshua Jordan/File

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Berkeley Unified School District will discuss whether to eliminate, reduce or keep eight positions at its board meeting Wednesday.

The proposal to eliminate or reduce eight positions in the district includes three physical education instructional specialists and three nutritional services assistants. It also proposes to eliminate a clerical assistant and a health and wellness program coordinator — both positions that are currently vacant. The meeting agenda attributes the need for cuts to “lack of work” and/or “lack of funds.”

According to BUSD spokesperson Charles Burress, none of the positions proposed to be reduced are currently full-time.

Burress also said in an email that which positions will be reduced depends on several variables and is yet to be determined.

“Variables that could determine what layoffs if any would occur might include future budget revisions approved by the School Board, revenue increases, changes in enrollment, opportunities for affected staff to pick up additional hours in other positions that have unfilled hours, reorganization of job or department responsibilities, and other such factors,” Burress said in an email.

BUSD proposed a budget cut of $1.8 million earlier this year, which would include reduction of employees, and faced backlash for the proposed elimination of a vice principal at Malcolm X Elementary School.

To meet the $1.8 million budget cut, BUSD also agreed to reductions in safety officers, a behavioral specialist and a counselor. Additionally, the board agreed to make reductions of $50,000 from the homeless budget, $15,000 from the GATE program budget, $75,000 from legal costs and $127,404 from the child development fund from the General Fund.

The reductions to which the board agreed totaled $1,785,209 on Feb. 21. The board voted unanimously in support of these cuts.

Cade Johnson is the lead schools and communities reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @cadejohnson98.