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Lucia Mar rehires 52 teachers

Fifty-two teachers and seven counselors in the Lucia Mar Unified School District have been rehired, thanks in large part to about three dozen retirements.

The school board in May voted to issue final layoff notices to 67.9 full-time-equivalent positions, affecting 74 credentialed employees.

“Now with the actions last night, we’ve brought back all of the permanent teachers,” Superintendent Jim Hogeboom said. “I feel really good about that.”

The layoff notices were distributed as board members worked to close a shortfall to this year’s $52 million general fund budget.

Board members — working with updated projections from the governor’s revised budget proposal in May — approved a budget Tuesday for the 2010-11 fiscal year that cuts $3 million.

It includes one-time federal stimulus funds for special education, money for instructional materials and other one-time funding sources.

Board members Erik Howell and David Foster were absent for the 5-0 vote.

More changes could be made once the state Legislature approves a budget, said Mary Stark, Lucia Mar’s deputy superintendent of business. A new governor could also decide to impose mid-year cuts on school districts in January.

Class sizes will increase in the district’s elementary schools when classes resume Aug. 18 — to 29 students per teacher in kindergarten through third grades, and to 32 students per teacher in grades fourth through sixth.

This past year, kindergarten through third grades had an average of 27 students per teacher, and about 30 students per teacher in grades fourth through sixth, said Andy Stenson, assistant superintendent of curriculum.

Because of budget cuts, the district could have about 50 fewer elementary school teachers when school starts Aug. 18 as compared to the number of elementary teachers in the 2008-09 year.

The school board also approved layoffs affecting 31 nonteaching positions, including bus drivers, computer lab assistants and classroom instructional assistants, Hogeboom said.

Some of those employees could be rehired depending on whether individual school administrators decide to use some of their funds to do so.

Eleven nonteaching employees retired this year.

Board members are expected to grapple with budget cuts over the next few years. If there are no further cuts from state and federal funding sources, the board will have to cut at least $1.9 million in fiscal year 2012-13 to maintain its minimum reserves, Stark said.

Bus fee increases

The board Tuesday also approved fee increases for students who ride the school bus.

Doing so is expected to raise about $124,100 and reduce the amount of money the transportation department needs from the district’s general fund, said Kevin Baker, the district’s director of maintenance and facilities.

The board voted to reverse a decision made last week to eliminate two bus routes.

Board members had taken action based upon district transportation policies that were incorrect, Hogeboom said last week.

The charge will increase by 50 cents, to $270 from $190, for regular-fee students and by 25 cents, to $145 from $100, for reduced-fee students. Those fees include a $10 annual bus pass.

The district transported about 2,200 students last year — about 21 percent of its enrolled students, Baker said.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated on Twitter by following @SouthCountyBeat.

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