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Sorry to my Commenters; Sorry District News

Now that I am mainly blogging at, I haven’t checked for comments in a while. The last six comments have been approved. Thank you for all the kind words.

I am writing again today because I have to say that the school really did me a favor by getting rid of me in February. At least I have had time to prepare for my next source of income (back to freelancing). I work at Natomas Unified in Sacramento, and the budget news that comes today is particularly grim.

The high school will no longer have a real police officer on campus. At least 40 more people will be laid off. The grand jury is investigating old real estate deals.

It gets worse. These are the cutbacks approved last night:

  • Reassign teachers facing layoff s into a pool of longterm substitute teachers, savings to be determined – potentially up to $1 million
  • Increase class sizes in grades 2 and 3 to 30 students to 1 teacher, $750,000
  • Close under-enrolled Regional Occupational Program (ROP) classes, $232,000
  • Increase student meal prices by 50 cents and open new points of sale at Natomas High ’s Terrace Cafe to generate more sales, $230,000
  • Cut 2.5 positions for secondary social studies, $145,000
  • Make further reductions in the support staff at the Education Center, $166,000
  • Increase the distance students walk before busing is provided, $100,000
  • Eliminate an unfilled elementary vice principal position, $96,000
  • Reduce use of the Tungsten program, $45,000
  • Cancel elementary summer school but keep high school summer school  (middle school summer school will be addressed next week), $28,000
  • Implement further energy savings including keeping the swimming pool at Natomas High open only June-September and turning off the stadium lights at Natomas High and Inderkum High in the evenings, $24,500
  • Trim staff development budget for certificated staff, $21,516
  • Reduce the contribution to the Natomas Schools Foundation, $16,000
  • Reduce  school decentralized supply budgets by 10 percent, $70,000

And here’s what they will discuss next week because they are still $5 short:

  • Closing schools, $300,000 to $400,000
  • Temporarily closing Bannon Creek Elementary for construction safety concerns during the conversion of the campus from a K-5 to a K-8 school (this construction project is using bond dollars that cannot be used for other expenses such as staff salaries and student supplies), $250,000
  • Authorizing targeted layoffs, variable savings
  • Eliminating athletics, $357,425
  • Putting more/all schools on multi-track year-round schedules with a school closure, $400,000
  • Having a four-day school week, $250,000
  • More energy savings that include letting our lawns go brown, $40,000 or more
  • Not purchasing school workbooks, $300,000
  • Eliminating all bus transportation except for special education students (a mandated service), $862,000
  • Eliminating all Tier III categorical programs, $1.4 million
  • Staff furloughs, variable savings
  • Eliminating P.E. for high school juniors and seniors and only offering the class at the freshman/sophomore level, $232,000
  • Further review of increasing class sizes at the K-1 level ( the Board already approved increasing class sizes at every grade level by 1), savings to be determined

Finally, the teachers that stick around have this to look forward to:

  • Freez e step-and-column increase s, $1.68 million or the equivalent of 29 teaching positions
  • Implement furlough days, $283,363 per each furlough day or the equivalent of 5 teaching positions
  • 3 percent salary reduction for all employees and administrators, $1.644 million or the equivalent of 28 teaching positions
  • Eliminate compensation for class size overages, $236,000 or the equivalent of 4 teaching positions

I can’t think of a better time to leave public school teaching. Luckily, I have a potential college teaching job (part-time) lined up at the Art Institute.

By Dawn Pedersen

Science advocate, web designer, educator, artist, and mommy.

2 replies on “Sorry to my Commenters; Sorry District News”

I used to read you nearly every time you posted – for quite a long time – I watched you travel through a few new challenges with interest.

Since you have stopped blogging here, I’ll just say that I know kids who had you at NUSD and heard good things. The district is not what it once was and it’s a shame.

Good luck.

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