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Tue, May 21

Mingus sends RIF notices to 20 teachers
School board split 3 to 2 on decision

School Board President John Tavasci said there should be an across-the-board reduction in salaries instead of a reduction in force.

School Board President John Tavasci said there should be an across-the-board reduction in salaries instead of a reduction in force.

The Mingus Union High School District Governing Board voted Thursday night to issue reduction-in-force notices to 20 of its youngest teachers. Interim Superintendent Nancy Alexander told The Verde Independent following the meeting that the notices would go out Friday by certified mail.

By statute, the board must send RIF notices by April 15 to teachers with three or fewer years on the job. If the notices are not sent, the district cannot terminate those teachers.

The board voted to send the RIF notices to all teachers hired during the 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years.

The vote was split three members for and two members against. John Tavasci, Andy Groseta and Mike Mulcaire voted to send the notices. Members James Ledbetter and Brenda Zenan voted against the notices.

During discussion Board President Tavasci said there should be an across-the-board reduction in salaries instead of a reduction in force.

Ledbetter said he is confident that it will not get to that point and the district will keep the teachers. He said this situation is due to the shenanigans of the State Legislature. "They need to raise revenue," he said. "It's just wrong."

Board member Zenan said there should be a better way. "I'm very uncomfortable with this," she said.

There was a general consensus among the board members that they hope the district will be able to keep or rehire these teachers.

Groseta "reluctantly" made a motion to send the notices. Mulcaire seconded it.

Groseta said that, given the situation, "This gives us a little wiggle room."

The district has until May 15 to send notices to teachers with more than three years on the job. According to a recent interview with Kirk Waddle, the district business manager, the district must also notify teachers by May 15 if teacher's salaries are to be cut.

At this time, the district still doesn't know exactly how deep the state's education budget will cut into the district's budget. But recently, Waddle said MUHS expects its General Fund revenue to be down next year by $572,000. That isn't the end of the bad news. The actual shortfall expected, with all things considered, is more than $800,000.

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